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Publisher: Journals Gateway
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2017) 47 (4): 445–474.
Published: 01 February 2017
AbstractView article PDF
The English Agricultural Revolution began during a period of climate change in which temperatures decreased significantly. Lower temperatures meant less bacterial activity, a slower release of mineral nitrogen into cultivated soils, and a shorter growing season for crops—a combination that tended to diminish yields. The English farmers reacted by increasing the flow of organic matter and manure into the soil, thus mitigating the negative effect of the colder temperatures to some extent. When the temperatures rose again, the faster mineralization of soil organic matter led to bountiful yields that encouraged English farmers to continue with these innovative strategies. The upshot is that the English agricultural revolution was more a discovery than an invention, that the English agricultural revolution was more a discovery than an invention, induced by a combination of climate challenges, social and institutional settings, and market incentives.