Stage 4: Wider reading :

Unit 18: Preface To: Climate Change And Agriculture

Preface To: Climate Change And Agriculture

These volumes are for both Western and Asian readers.

Although the text is in English, Chinese characters are included at appropriate points in each volume for such variables as selected technical terms, the names of countries and the captions of figures and tables, at the point of their first occurrence.

Characters are meaningful for the majority of Asian readers whatever their native tongue, be it one of the many dialects of Chinese, or whether, Korean or Japanese, because the meanings are independent of the sounds use

The volumes present the conclusions arrived at from a life time of research into the fundamentals and history of climate change and agriculture.

The greater part of the research was with CSIRO, Australia, benefiting from its policy of long term investigation and its close association with similar institutions and their libraries throughout the world.

A global view from before the last ice age to the present is the subject of this volume.

Europe and North America figure more prominently than East Asia because the greater amount of multidisciplinary research there has been of sufficient magnitude to permit a clearer enunciation of causal relationships.

Our knowledge of climatic trends in East Asia is slight by comparison.

China is the chosen model for Volume 2 because China boasts the most sustained and extensive agricultural system the world has seen.

Sociological aspects of agricultural development are also well documented in China, and agriculture has always profoundly influenced social development.

Accordingly, China is concentrated on in that volume, with only minimal cross reference to the world in general.

The third volume, moves from past trends to present relations between climate change and agriculture in biblical times.

The fourth volume assesses the reactions of a range of agricultural plants to the stresses that accompany climate change in general and develops concepts of plant tolerance.

The fifth volume considers agriculture and the bio-community as it meets the challenges of future climate change.

Of course, such a wide ranging study cannot itself be a detailed analysis, and must draw upon more detailed reports in the literature.

These are fully referenced throughout the text.

Salient features must be concentrated upon if cogent conclusions are to be arrived at.

The coverage, must be extensive rather than narrow.

If we wish to relate major climate trends to agricultural developments we must also consider both pre-historical events and the astronomical phenomena that contribute to them.

It is therefore clear that there is a bewildering array of variables to be considered.

Climate change involves many entities that themselves change -- seldom simply.

Patterns of agricultural development also change from one region to another.

It is therefore necessary to seek patterns of response rather than to concentrate on discrete facets.

Simple answers are not sought, nor can they reasonably be expected, given the nature of the subject.

Such a multivariate situation requires a comprehensive approach akin to that of n-dimensional component analysis, in the mathematical sense.

The aim may be complex, but many important decisions today depend on such analyses if helpful conclusions are to be drawn.

It is the purpose of these volumes to contribute to that aim if only to a limited extent.