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Doctoral thesis, 2023

Climate and Agriculture in the Little Ice Age : The case of Sweden in a wider European perspective

Skoglund, Martin

Abstract

Agriculture was and is inherently dependent on weather and climate. This dependency varies over time and space. The climatic regime of the Little Ice Age (ca 1300–1850) with its reduced average temperatures has been proposed to have presented agriculture in Europe with particular challenges. And yet, in the centuries after the Late Medieval Agrarian Crisis of the 14th and 15th centuries, population and agricultural production expanded markedly in many regions of Europe. This thesis employs the large amounts of agricultural and climatic data available from the Early Modern period as well as a comprehensive set of quantitative methods to explore agrometeorological relationships in central and southern Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Spain during the years ca 1500–1900. This thesis also contributes novel long time series of harvest, sowing, and hay-cutting dates, the latter two types of dates being exceptionally rare in European historiography. Results show that farmers faced different types of agrometeorological constraints in the regions studied here. Nonetheless, harvests in central agricultural areas generally tended to be larger during cooler years. Only in marginal agricultural areas did an opposite signal prevail. In other words, by the Early Modern period, if not earlier, agriculture in large parts of Europe appears to have been well adapted to the lower average temperatures of the Little Ice Age.

Keywords

climate and agriculture; historical agrometeorology; Little Ice Age; Scania; Jämtland; Sweden; Europe

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023.56
ISBN: 978-91-8046-164-1, eISBN: 978-91-8046-165-8
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science
    Climate Research

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.54612/a.3rnsodears

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/122461