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Field Guides & Natural History  Ecology  Ecosystem & Landscape Ecology

Countryside History Essays in Honour of Oliver Rackham

By: Ian D Rotherham(Editor), Jennifer Moody(Editor), Peter Grubb(Foreword By)
416 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations
Countryside History
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  • Countryside History ISBN: 9781784273163 Hardback Jun 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Price: £49.99
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About this book

Like one of the ancient trees he wrote about so elegantly and perceptively, Oliver Rackham's roots run deep while his influence branches far. He was undoubtedly the leading scholar in landscape history and historical ecology, and his work continues to resonate not just with his peers but with a much wider public audience too. His combination of extensive archival research, meticulous fieldwork and place-name analysis were truly ground-breaking. He not only changed the way we think about the landscape; he in fact altered that landscape in turn – enriching, clarifying, bringing it to life.

Countryside History, which honours Rackham's memory, is a unique collection of contributions from leading global authorities on countryside and landscape history. A number of chapters come from individuals who were his friends and collaborators, and they each share a debt to his scholarship and methods. Ranging all over Europe from Bialowieza Forest in Poland to the Mediterranean, and across the world from New England to northern Japan, the wealth of perspectives gathered here makes for a diverse and weighty discussion.

Collectively, the contributions represent an acknowledgement of Rackham's huge impact and influence at the same time as offering a benchmark for current thinking in countryside history worldwide. This volume will appeal to researchers, postgraduate students, final-year undergraduates, lecturers and scholars on the one hand, but also to anyone who loves the countryside and is fascinated by its complex history. As we lose irreplaceable heritage landscapes to climate change and development, an understanding of what they are and what they mean only becomes more vital.


Foreword by Peter Grubb
Information on Contributors
Introduction: An Overview of the work and influences of Oliver Rackham / Ian D. Rotherham and Jennifer Moody

1. Concepts of Ancient Woodland / George Peterken
2. The Influence of Oliver Rackham in our Understanding of Wooded Landscapes / Della Hooke
3. How the Wildwood Worked: Rackham’s Contribution to Forest Ecology / Adrian C. Newton
4. Stability and Change in Woodland Ground Flora / Keith Kirby
5. Echoes of the Wildwood? Investigating the Historical Ecology of some Warwickshire Lime Woodlands 1986–2000 / David R. Morfitt

6. On the Shoulders of Oliver Rackham / Frans Vera
7. Forest History versus Pseudo-History: The Relevance of Oliver Rackham’s Concepts in the Conservation of Białowieza: a Primeval Forest / Tomasz Samojlik, Piotr Daszkiewicz and Aurika Ričkienė
8. Old-Growth Forests in the Eastern Alps: Management and Protection / Elisabeth Johann
9. Biocultural Landscapes of Europe: A Journey with Oliver Rackham / Gloria Pungetti

10. Trees Grow Again: Greece and the Mediterranean in Oliver Rackham’s Publications / J. Donald Hughes
11. Friend or Foe? Oak Agroforestry Systems in the Mediterranean and the Role of Grazing / Thanasis Kizos
12. The Irreplaceable Trees of Crete / Jennifer Moody
13. Walking in Sacred Forests with Oliver Rackham: A Conversation about Relict Landscapes in Epirus, North-West Greece / Rigas Tsiakiris, Kalliopi Stara, Valentino Marini Govigli and Jennifer L.G. Wong
14. Historical Ecology and the History of ‘Individual Landscapes’: Oliver Rackham’s Field Visits to Liguria (North-West Italy) / Roberta Cevasco, Diego Moreno and Charles Watkins

15. Oliver Rackham, Archives and Ancient Woodland Research / Melvyn Jones
16. From Household Equipment to Countryside in Eleventh-Century Bavaria / Richard Hoffmann
17. It’s a Fair Coppice: Methodological Considerations of the History of Woodland Management / Péter Szabó
18. Oliver Rackham and Shadow Woods / Ian D. Rotherham
19. Oliver Rackham and the Archaeology of Ancient Woods of Norfolk / Tom Williamson

20. Reflections from the Antipodes / Paul Adam
21. Managing Pollards and the Last Forest / Vikki Bengtsson
22. The Value and Meaning of Traditional Natural Resource Use Systems in Satoyama Landscapes in Japan / Katsue Fukamachi
23. Pollard Beech Trees in Snowy Areas of Japan / Tohru Nakashizuka, Hideo Miguchi and Tomohiko Kamitani
24. So Human a Landscape: Oliver Rackham’s Influence on a New England Ecologist / Henry W. Art

25. Conclusions: The Legacy of Oliver Rackham / Jennifer Moody and Ian D. Rotherham
An Oliver Rackham Bibliography

Customer Reviews


Ian D. Rotherham is Emeritus Professor at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. He is an authority on landscape history and particularly on the history, heritage and ecology of woodlands and peatlands. He has published widely, including over 500 academic research papers, around 50 books and many hundreds of popular articles. He is co-editor (with Alper H. Çolak and Simay Kirca) of Ancient Woods, Trees and Forests: Ecology, History and Management.

Jennifer Moody is an archaeologist of the Aegean, specializing in ceramic fabric analysis and landscape and paleo-climate reconstruction. She has worked on the island of Crete for over 40 years, where she has directed four archaeological surveys and consulted for many more, both on Crete and elsewhere in Greece. She is an advocate for landscape conservation and preservation of cultural heritage in Greece and elsewhere. In 1989 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, for her research. From 1991 to 2001 she was Visiting Professor and Senior lecturer in Anthropology at Baylor University and since 2006 has been a Research Fellow in Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1996 she and Oliver Rackham co-authored The Making of the Cretan Landscape, for which they won the Runciman prize.

By: Ian D Rotherham(Editor), Jennifer Moody(Editor), Peter Grubb(Foreword By)
416 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Iconoclastic, Indomitable, Indefatigable, above all Investigatory – Oliver Rackham had all these "Is" in spades! This book is a genuine homage to him, in a clear, yet not uncritical, way from scholars around the world who came to know and work with him. Perhaps Rackham's greatest achievement was in changing the way scholars thought about landscape and history, and if you are not familiar with his work, you should become so – and this book is the best way to get acquainted!"
– Peter Bridgewater, Chair, UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee 2007-2014

"Oliver Rackham's writing opened my eyes to a new world, as it did for so many others. It provided the tools to read the countryside and made us appreciate the deep history of the landscape. In this insightful book, an international team of authors look at a galaxy of problems, showing how Rackham's insights repeatedly improved understanding of history, ecology and conservation. Read it and have your eyes opened."
– William Sutherland, Department of Zoology and St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge

"This magnificent collection celebrates Rackham's many achievements and underscores how his seminal work laid the foundations of what we now understand as environmental history. Here, in this superb gathering of scholars who are field-leaders in their own right, we see the living legacy of Rackham's impact internationally and the proof of his wonderful ability to engage and enthuse readers."
– Richard Oram, Professor of Medieval and Environmental History, University of Stirling

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