Synopses & Reviews
Root research under natural field conditions is still a step-child of science. The reason for this is primarily methodological. The known methods are tedious, time- consuming, and the accuracy of their results is often not very great. Many research workers have been discouraged by doing such root studies. The need for more information on the development and distribution of plant roots in different soils under various ecological conditions is, however, obvious in many ecological disciplines. Especially the applied botanical sciences such as agriculture, horticulture, and forestry are interested in obtaining more data on plant roots in the soil. This book will give a survey of existing methods in ecological root research. Primarily field methods are presented; techniques for pot experiments are described only so far as they are important for solving ecological problems. Laboratory methods for studying root physiology are not covered in this book. Scientific publications on roots are scattered in many different journals published all over the world. By working through the international root literature I found that about ten thousand papers on root ecology have been published at the present. This is not very much compared with the immense literature on the aboveground parts of the plants, but is, however, too much to cite in this book.