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Recommended Reading


A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis Marcel Mazoyer, Laurence Roudart

A detailed analysis of world agriculture and the key changes in practices - mostly aimed at increasing yields - that have occurred over the last eight thousand years. Highly recommended.

The Earth Care Manual - A Permaculture Handbook for Britain and other Temperate Climates Patrick Whitefield

Eleven years since publication but still by far the best permaculture book for cool temperate climates. Very good on general principles, soil and micro-climate.

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer's tour de force on how he transformed a mountain farm in Austria into a working model of sustainable best practice. Inspiring demonstration of micro-climate enhancement.

Also useful

The Fruit Tree Handbook Ben Pike 

Comprehensive text on the art and science of growing tree fruit.


The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future Richard Alley

Alley writes an excellent account of climate changes that have occured over the millennia, as he decodes the mysteries of the Greenland ice cores and deep ocean sediments.


Climates of the British Isles Past Present and Future eds Mike Hulne and Elaine Barrow

Mainly UK focused but gives a good overview of climate changes experienced by Ireland and Britain over the last twenty thousand years, and briefly examines the changes in climate likely as a consequences of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.


Climates of Northern and Western Europe (World Survey of Climatology Vol 5) ed Carl Wallen

Useful for making comparisons between the climates of Ireland and Britain, and those of adjacent areas of Europe.


Climate Change 2013 - The Physical Science Basis: Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC

The most recent climate assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The four principal scenarios offered point to a temperature increase of 1.6-2.6°C (on the 1850-1900 average temperature) by 2050 and 1.6-4.3 °C (extreme range 0.9-5.4°C) by 2100. The most optimistic of the scenarios required the rate of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to begin falling immediately. However, more recent climate data shows that the rate of emissions is accelerating. For this reason, it seems prudent to focus more on the least-optimistic scenarios.


World Energy Outlook International Energy Agency 2013, 2014

Contains detailed analysis of current and projected energy use, with a small section devoted to energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and probable future climate change. The three main energy/emissions scenarios examined are as follows: New Policies Scenario (based on implementation of all energy/emission policies legally enacted by 2013 plus cautious implementation of announced commitments and plans), 450 Scenario (based on implementation of all steps required to provide a 50-50 chance of climate stabilisation at no more than 2.0°C above the pre-industrial average) and Current Policies Scenario (which takes into consideration only the policies legally enacted by mid 2013). The New Policies Scenario gives a trajectory leading to a 3.6°C increase on the pre-industrial global temperature by 2100. The associated water deficit (from reduced rainfall and lowering of aquifers) would result in a catastrophic outcome for world food production. However, the Current Policies Scenario is even worse, leading to a global temperature increase of 5.3°C by 2100. A temperature increase of this magnitude would lead to the desertification of many key food producing regions.

Further details of the scenarios - albeit with a highly optimistic slant - can be found in the International Energy Agency document Redrawing the Energy Climate Map


The Climate Near the Ground Rudolf Geiger

Detailed scientific analysis of the micro-climate of the bottom two metres of atmosphere, and the ground below it. Of value to all students of horticulture, particularly those with an interest in micro-climate modification or enhancement.



Obtaining Books

Many of the titles listed above are available secondhand - sometimes very cheaply - from online bookshops. While none are essential reading, it is preferred that students already have some basic knowledge of the mechanics of global warming/climate change. The nursery has an extensive library running to several hundred titles on agriculture, soil science, climatology, meteorology and related social and anthropological topics.