David Beerling's book is both fascinating and important. (P D Smith, The Guardian)
An illuminating account of the ways "greenhouse gases, genes, and geochemistry" are linked. (P D Smith, The Guardian)
My favourite non-fiction book this year...[a] highly readable history of the last half-billion years on earth (Oliver Sacks, Observer Books of the Year)
David Beerling tells two stories in parallel. Both are eloquently and engagingly merged in a scholarly, yet generally accessible book...Beerling provides for the reader a fascinating history of the discovery of fossils and the inferences drawn from them...this book is a wonderful example of the nascent field of Earth systems science. (Paul Falkowski, Nature)
...of great value and relevance to all interested in plants, climate and, equally, the future of our 'emerald planet'. (John MacLeod, RHS Professor of Horticulture, Garden)
David Beerling's fascinating new book offers a new global perspective on the evolution of our planet...[a] vivid account...The environmental legacy of the plant kingdom upon our world can only be better appreciated after reading this book. (Louis Ronse De Craene)
A beautifully detailed account...a gorgeous book. (Steven Poole, The Guardian (Review))
[A] fascinating overview of green evolution. (Karl Dallas, Morning Star)
Within these pages is one of the greatest stories ever told ... It is as fascinating as it is important. (New Scientist)
The Emerald Planet is a serious talking-to about why plants must not be ignored. (Jonathan Silvertown, TLS)
In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how
plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how forests once grew on Antarctica, how plants played a starring role in allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the
ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victorian times onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles.
This new understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the world through the stories they tell.