Plants, People and the Environment
I'm including a link that introduces the gymnosperms. This webpage has links to nice photos and additional information.
I focused on the ecological and economic importance of the Coniferophyta, but the other groups of gymnosperms are also important in these areas. The following links will help you get a better feel for these other groups of interesting gymnosperms.
For more information about Ginkgo, try these two sites. The first site is really cool and there are links to the rest of Wayne's Word (great science trivia with lots of natural history information): Wayne's Word: Gingko. This second site deals with the medicinal use of Ginkgo biloba: UC Medicine - Ginkgo Information.
For general information about Cycads, follow this link to South African garden clubs and this nice link about the economic uses of cycads: Hungry for Cycads.
To see photos of the three groups in the Gnetophytes check out the Tree of Life - Gnetales site, and for the relative positions of Gnetophytes to the flowering plants (Angiosperms), check out the diagram from the Tree of Life - Gnetales and Angiosperms.
Here is a nice summary of the economic importance of conifer trees: Kodiak, Alaska Timber Industry.
For more information about the ecological impacts associated with the timber industry follow these links: Spotted Owl (World Wildlife Fund), Old Growth Forests in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, Endangered Species vs. Economic Development, and War of the Woods.
To see some satellite images that document deforestation look at NASA's remote sensing website.
Finally, here are some links about the use of spruce (a conifer) in musical instruments: Maestronet violins and Gwenyth Wilbur, Luthier.
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