Rural History 2015

Panel 50

Organizers: Barriendos, Mariano

Affiliation: University of Barcelona, Spain

Title: Climatic variability and agriculture during past centuries

Climatic variability and atmospheric patterns producing extreme weather events are natural processes with strong relation with human activities. Actual context of climatic/global change produces strong uncertainties for future management of natural resources and agricultural activities. Present research framework offers opportunities for integrated or hollistic investigations: natural processes as factors with uncertain evolution and human activities under pressure, evaluating vulnerabilities and possible impacts, generating strategies of mitigation and adaptation. Concern for near future dynamics and impacts is evident on scientific environment but also for social networks, associations and public administrations.
Challenges and opportunities for future context are strongly related with previous experiences on historical time. Past centuries testimonies and experiences of human activities and their interactions with environmental conditions are well recorded in historical archives. Climatic conditions and their variability along time are well studied and reconstructed with natural proxy-data: glacial and sedimentary cores, tree-rings, pollen and others, combined with long instrumental series. Documentary records from historical archives are also increasing research on paleoclimatic research, with important contribution thanks to reliability and high temporal resolution of preserved information. During recent years, documentary sources applied for climatic reconstruction are diverse, producing abundant scientific litterature: administrative records with direct descriptions, fiscal and agricultural statistics, rogation ceremonies, records from private diaries, chronicles, even ship log-books.
Considering this encouraging situation of historical climatology, documentary sources also contain systematic series with data related to agricultural activity. In this way, an holistic approach can be explored considering natural but also human processes. Then, climatic variability could be related with variations in agricultural production recorded in tax records, ecclesiastical tithes, nobiliary and owner incomes, and other indicators: market prices, statistics of food reserves and trading.
Collected information from both fields, environmental and agricultural, can explain different social contexts of prosperity or stress, focusing research on other indirect information available and arriving to an integrated interpretation: conflicts by water resources management, strategies for public works, social riots, marginality and migration. From these experiences, can be detected different contexts of vulnerabilities, impacts and resiliences. In front an uncertain future, applicability of this analysis may be useful to define sustainable answers.



Chair: Mariano Barriendos, University of Barcelona, Spain.

Paper 1: Praying against change. “Pro-pluvia” rogations as an instrument of power in society in southeastern Spain since 1600

Salvador Gil-Guirado and José Antonio Espín Sanchez, Yale University, USA

Paper 2: When the olive groves were frozen. The Late Maunder Minimum and agriculture on a Mediterranean island: Majorca 1675-1720

Gabriel Jover-Avellà, University of Girona, Spain; Mariano Barriendos, University of Barcelona, Spain; José Luís Martínez, University of Barcelona, Spain

Paper 3: Did the climate change influence English agricultural development? (1645-1740)

José Luís Martínez-González, University of Barcelona, Spain.


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015