Plants make up 99.9 percent of the world's living matter, provide food and shelter, and control the Earth's climate. The study of plant ecology is therefore essential to understanding the biological functions and processes of the biosphere. This vibrant new introductory textbook integrates important classical themes with recent ideas, models and data. The book begins with the origin of plants and their role in creating the biosphere as the context for discussing plant functional types and evolutionary patterns. The coverage continues logically through the exploration of causation with chapters, amongst others, on resources, stress, competition, predation, and mutualism. The book concludes with a chapter on conservation, addressing the concern that as many as one-third of all plant species are at risk of extinction. Each chapter is enriched with striking and unusual examples of plants (e.g., stone plants, carnivorous plants) and plant habitats (e.g., isolated tropical tepui, arctic cliffs). Paul Keddy - winner of the 2007 National Wetlands Award for Research- writes in a lively and thought-provoking style which will appeal to students at all levels.