Books by Park Nobel


DESERT WISDOM/AGAVES and CACTI: CO2, Water, Climate Change

DESERT WISDOM / AGAVES and CACTI: CO2 , Water, Climate Change Agaves and cacti thrive under the warmer conditions, variable rainfall, and increased CO2 characteristic of global climate change. Moreover, their remarkable biomass productivity promises multitudinous new uses in addition to current uses ranging from tequila to delicious fruits to fodder consumed by animals worldwide. The book also discusses the water conserving ability of agaves and cacti based on nocturnal opening of stomata and hence nocturnal uptake of carbon dioxide, a photosynthetic pathway referred to as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism.

Now available in Spanish as SabidurĂ­a del Desierto, Agaves y Cactos: CO2, agua, cambio climático (Biblioteca Básica de Agricultura, Mexico City).

table of contents  |  preface  |  excerpts  |  audiences  |   comments   |   announcements/reviews   |   ordering information

Books on Agaves and Cacti

The Cactus Primer (with Dr. Art Gison) (1986)

The Cactus Primer The Cactus Primer presents the amateur cactophile with an excellent introduction to cactus biology and provides the informed reader with an invaluable summary of the last forty years' research. This book goes far beyond books that instruct readers in the propagation, growth, and care of these plants; addressing matters of more scientific interest, it takes an integrated approach to the presentation of the form, physiology, evolution, and ecology of cacti. The book is unique in that it combines the descriptive morphology and physiology documented in the scientific literature with more general observations found in popular publications on cacti. It provides a new generic classification of the cacti and contains much new information, including data on photosynthesis, heat and cold tolerance, computer modeling of ribs, and the effects of spines.

Enhanced by over 400 illustrations and supplemented with an extensive glossary, this book will appeal to cactus enthusiasts interested in the classification and growth of cacti, as well as to plant biologists who use cacti to illustrate desert adaptation and convergent evolution. Written in accessible style, The Cactus Primer is bound to serve a dual function as both an instructive tool and a reference work in cactus biology for years to come.

Environmental Biology of Agaves and Cacti (1988)

evironmental biology of agaves and cactiThe Environmental Biology of Agaves and Cacti constitutes the first comprehensive review of how these two interesting and economically important desert succulent taxa respond, in what turn out to be remarkably similar ways, to specific environmental factors such as water, temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, and nutrients, which affect the exchange of carbon dioxide and water vapor with the environment. Park Nobel first summarizes early environmental research as well as the many ethnobotanical uses of agaves and cacti. He then develops the main themes by considering the three most studied species in detail. Much of the relevant research has been carried out in his own laboratory since the mid-1970s. The book's clear style, many photographs and line drawings, and comprehensive data summaries make it accessible to professionals and interested laypeople alike. Every scientific term is defined the first time it is used. Agaves and cacti are shown to be highly productive compared to other plant groups, and this productivity helps account for their many uses for beverages, food, and animal fodder. Plant ecologists and physiologists, agronomists, environmental biologists, modelers, ethnobotanists, students, amateur succulent enthusiasts, and those responsible for land use and agricultural policy in arid and semiarid regions will all find this book an invaluable resource.

Remarkable Agaves and Cacti (1994)

Remarkable Agaves and CactiFor at least 9000 years, agaves and cacti have been cultivated and consumed by people the world over. Whether they have been used to make beverages, eaten as fruits, raised for their leaf fibers, or fed to cattle, these succulent plants have proven invaluable to the economies of many cultures. This entertaining and informative book details the unique characteristics and uses of the many species of agaves and cacti. In his exploration of their past, present, and potential future uses, Park S. Nobel--an internationally known expert on the subject--explores how agaves and cacti have served, for example, as ornamental horticulture, as a key ingredient of tequila, as hallucinogens in religious rites, and as medicines. The author also considers the biology of agaves and cacti by explaining how they are able to withstand the harsh desert conditions in which they flourish, and by describing at the cellular level their distinctive and fascinating physiologies. Finally, the book makes the case that these plants have exceptional potential for mass cultivation and utilization in the future. Succulent plant enthusiasts, amateur botanists, interested laypersons, researchers, and professionals alike will want to read this authoritative, popularly written introduction to these unusually interesting plants.

Out of print at Oxford University Press.

Cacti Biology and Uses (2002)

Remarkable Agaves and CactiThe Cactaceae family, with about sixteen hundred species, is cultivated worldwide for fruits, forage, fodder, and even as a vegetable. Cacti are recognized for their attractive flowers, special stem shapes, and ability to tolerate drought. Because of their efficient use of water and other adaptations, biological and agronomic interest in cacti has soared. These fascinating plants also have much to teach us about biodiversity and conservation. Yet a current, synthetic, wide-ranging reference on cacti has not been available until now. This comprehensive book, compiled by a well-known cactus biologist, includes authoritative, up-to-date chapters by thirty-five contributors from around the world on topics ranging from evolution to biotechnology. It is the first book of its kind to compile information on cactus biology, ecology, and uses in one convenient place.

The first half of the book provides a thorough overview of cactus biology and morphology and discusses the environmental and conservation issues that affect the plants. It includes a discussion of the evolution of the family, paying particular attention to new genetic and molecular approaches. The second half of the book focuses on the practical concerns of cultivating cacti, such as pest control and diseases, horticultural and forage applications, and techniques for agronomy. Other chapters cover the different markets for cacti and products that are made from them.

This unique volume will be a reliable and informative reference for ecologists and environmentalists, agriculturists, plant biologists, and anyone seriously interested in these remarkable plants.


Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology, Fourth Edition (2009)

Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology The new edition of Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology uses elementary chemistry, physics, and mathematics to explain and develop key concepts in plant physiology. In fundamental ways, all physiological processes that occur in cells, tissues, organs, and organisms obey such relations. Topics include diffusion, membranes, water relations, ion transport, photochemistry, bioenergetics of energy conversion, photosynthesis, environmental influences on plant temperature, and gas exchange for leaves and whole plants. This new edition maintains the unparalleled commitment to clear presentation and improves upon the user friendliness of the previous versions.

Many illustrations have been redrawn and over 20 new ones are added. Material has been updated throughout based on new research and special applications. Literally thousands of comments from students have led to substantial improvements. Other improvements have come from questions asked by colleagues from around the world. The result is not only a better textbook but also an increasingly valuable reference work. In summary, the 4th edition of Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology is more comprehensive, more dynamic, and better illustrated while maintaining the clarity and incisiveness for which the series (seven versions beginning in 1970) is universally acclaimed.

All of these books can also be ordered from Amazon and Barnes and Noble