Post retirement. Earlier books are listed in Publications (Full).

 

Sole authored

(Published by University Press Ltd, Dhaka. www.uplbooks.com. email: upl@bangla.net)

 

1. The geography of the soils of Bangladesh. 1996

2. Agricultural development possibilities in Bangladesh. 1997

3. Agricultural disaster management in Bangladesh. 1999

4. Agroecological aspects of agricultural research in Bangladesh. 2000

5. Land use and land use planning in Bangladesh. 2002

6. How to help small farmers in Bangladesh. 2002

7. Can Bangladesh be protected from floods? 2004

8. The physical geography of Bangladesh. 2012

9. Climate change, sea-level rise and development in Bangladesh. 2014

10. Bangladesh: landscapes, soil fertility and development. 2016

Joint authored

Ravenscroft, P., H. Brammer and K. Richards Arsenic pollution: a global synthesis. Wiley-Blackwell. 2009

 

Book summaries

(From book jackets)

Books

1. The geography of the soils of Bangladesh

This book is based on the author’s more than thirty years’ experience with soils and agricultural development in Bangladesh. It provides a systematic description of the country’s soils, how they have formed and where they occur. It is intended for use as a university text-book and as a guide for agricultural, forestry and environmental officials and consultants on the characteristics and distribution of the soils which support the country’s varied land use and ecological habitats.

       The country’s soils proved to be very different from the raw geological alluvium which the author expected to find when he first arrived in 1961. Surveys revealed a wide diversity of landscapes and soils, that soil formation on the country’s floodplains could be extraordinarily rapid and that several soils had features which were new to soil science. In this book, Hugh Brammer shares with the readers the exciting experience of deciphering the various processes of soil formation in Bangladesh.

       Part I provides an overview of the main soil-forming processes. Part II contains six chapters describing the physical factors of the environment that have influenced soil formation. The stages of soil formation on seasonally-flooded and non-flooded land are described in Part III, while the country’s main soil types, their classification in international systems and their soil moisture relations are described in Part IV. Representative soil profile descriptions and laboratory data are given in an Appendix, together with glossaries of technical terms used.

2. Agricultural development possibilities in Bangladesh

This book includes selected papers on crop suitability and agricultural development based on the author’s extensive experience with soils and agricultural development in Bangladesh. Written between 1974 and 1989, the papers range from popular journal articles to formal reports to Government. The successive chapter, updated by footnotes, provide a realistic appraisal of the opportunities for increasing agricultural production in Bangladesh’s diverse environments.

       Part I, written especially for this book, provides background information on Bangladesh’s physical characteristics to assist readers in understanding the rationale for crop selection, soil management and development possibilities in different parts of the country. Part II comprises a set of eight popular articles which, by focusing on specific disaster-prone and difficult environments, provide a comprehensive review of regional aspects of development.

       Part III comprises edited versions of five reports and discussion papers which describe the potential for production of HYV rice, wheat and other cereals, and review experience with wheat cultivation. Part IV contains three papers which focus on crop suitability and crop diversification. An additional final chapter provides a synthesis of the principles of agricultural development and crop suitability assessment which underlie the previous chapters.

3. Agricultural disaster management in Bangladesh

This book includes selected papers on agricultural disaster management based on the author’s thirty-five years’ experience in agricultural development in Bangladesh. This was a field in which the author did pioneering work: first by analysing the impacts of natural disasters on agricultural production and indicating practical rehabilitation measures for different kinds of land and soils month by month throughout the year; then by codifying institutional procedures for reporting and assessing crop damage and for organising appropriate relief and rehabilitation measures. Although the information and procedures relate specifically to Bangladesh, the principles described in this book can be applied in other countries, especially in countries where small-scale farmers predominate.

       The book comprises four parts. Part I describes Bangladesh’s physical environment to assist readers in understanding the country’s distinctive land use and the kinds of natural disaster which occur. Part II comprises five chapters describing procedures for preparing contingency plans, assessing damage, and preparing and monitoring rehabilitation programmes, a chapter recording the author’s experience in monitoring and interpreting weather data, plus a chapter describing measures to protect flood-protection, road and railway projects from flood damage.

       The core of the book is contained in Part III. This comprises eleven chapters dealing with individual kinds of disaster, including floods, drought and cyclones. Each chapter systematically describes the impacts of a specific disaster type on agriculture, the preventive, precautionary, rehabilitation and relief measures that can be taken to mitigate their effects, and the role of agricultural research and extension in disaster mitigation. Part IV comprises three chapters. Two of these reproduce reports made after specific cyclone and drought disasters, while the concluding chapter sums up the lessons learnt from the author’s experience. That chapter, and the book as a whole, provide a practical guide to planners and administrators responsible for designing and implementing measures to reduce the impacts of natural disasters on farmers and on agricultural production.

4. Agroecological aspects of agricultural research in Bangladesh

Based on the author’s more than twenty years’ experience of soils and agricultural development in Bangladesh, this fourth volume of his collected works brings together selected papers, updated by footnotes, describing the relationships between environmental factors and Bangladesh’s unique agricultural systems. The book is aimed particularly at university and college teachers through whom the author hopes to pass on his accumulated experience to the next generation of agricultural research scientists.

       Part I provides background information on Bangladesh’s physical environment and includes a chapter describing research needs in the country’s drought-prone environments. Part II comprises chapters describing how farmers in different parts of Bangladesh have adapted, and are still adapting, their cropping practices to the micro-environments of their small and fragmented holdings. Part III deals with various issues in soil management which need research attention. Part IV describes environmental factors needing to be considered in siting and monitoring agricultural trials and demonstrations, and the methods used on three field studies.

       In Part V, the author reviews his experience of agricultural research and development in the country, emphasizing the need for research scientists and extension officials to become more deeply aware of the environmental factors influencing cropping systems, farmers’ practices and agricultural development possibilities in Bangladesh.

5. Land use and land use planning in Bangladesh

In the fifth volume of his collected works, the author brings together selected papers, updated by footnotes, which provide an historical perspective on Bangladesh’s dynamic land use and the evolving approaches to rural development planning in the 1970s and 1980s. Aimed particularly at agriculture, geography and soil science researchers, teachers and students, and agricultural planning and extension officials, this book makes available material that previously had a limited circulation, provides models for repeating some of the studies described, and supplies practical training material.

       Part I provides background information on Bangladesh’s physical environment and land use. Part II comprises nine chapters describing wide-ranging land use studies made in support of agricultural development planning, ranging from the various ways in which farmers have intensified their crop production to legal aspects of land use regulation. Part III outlines the policies and principles involved in national and local-level land use planning, while Part IV provides information and guidelines for use in planning more intensive land use. Part V describes in detail the various methods tried in the 1970s and 1980s to use soil survey information for village and Thana development planning and for land use zoning. Throughout, emphasis is given to participatory planning methods.

6. How to help small farmers in Bangladesh

In the sixth volume of his collected works on agriculture in Bangladesh, the author brings together selected papers, updated by footnotes, which describe the country’s agricultural environment, crops, cropping systems and a wide range of practical methods to help small farmers to increase soil fertility, crop yields and annual agricultural production. This book is aimed particularly at government and NGO agricultural extension workers, agricultural teachers and students, and visiting consultants. It provides practical training models and material, and makes available information in reports and papers which previously had a limited circulation.

       Part I comprises three chapters which describe the diversity and complexity of Bangladesh’s physical and farming environments and the implications for organising extension activities. The three chapters in Part II show how to use soil survey information, particularly for selecting sites for trial and demonstration plots in farmers’ fields. Part III includes four chapters which describe methods to increase extension efficiency by identifying specific ways to help small farmers, making use of farmers’ own experience, preparing work calendars and identifying progressive areas. The six chapters in Part IV describe crops and cropping systems for Bangladesh’s diverse environments and simple ways to increase crop yields, while Part V comprises nine chapters describing Bangladesh’s soil characteristics and various ways to increase and sustain soil fertility through better use of organic manure, fertilisers and soil management practices. The four chapters in Part VI cover a wide range of topics relating to agricultural production, culminating in a final chapter which describes seventeen simple, practical ways to help small farmers to increase their yields, production and incomes.

7. Can Bangladesh be protected from floods?

This is the author’s seventh book on agricultural development and disaster management in Bangladesh. He draws upon his 35 years’ experience in the country to describe the causes and impacts of the floods which periodically ravage Bangladesh and to review efforts made to mitigate the damage and suffering they cause.

       The three chapters in Part 1 provide background information on the physical environment. They contain a comprehensive description of conditions in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna catchment area which determine Bangladesh’s vulnerability to floods; a description of how climate change and a rising sea-level might affect the country’s flood vulnerability; and an attempt to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings about, floods, flooding and flood mitigation in Bangladesh.

       The five chapters in Part II describe how floods affect the people and economy of Bangladesh and how the people and government have responded to the country’s exposure to floods and cyclones.

       The single chapter in Part III addresses the question which gives the title to the book by reviewing the technical, economic and institutional issues raised by the changes in policy and strategy, and draws conclusions regarding the implications of these changes for the government and people of Bangladesh.

8. The physical geography of Bangladesh

In his eighth book on Bangladesh’s physical environment and agriculture, the author draws together his long experience in surveying, observing and studying the country’s physical geography and provides a revised map of the country’s physiographic regions. He draws attention to the interrelationship between geomorphology and soils, and to the country’s dynamic geomorphology, particularly changes in river courses and the impacts of earthquakes.

       Chaters1−6 give a comprehensive description of Bangladesh’s geology, geomorphology, climate, hydrology and soils. They provide the background for the detailed description of the 18 physiographic regions in Chapters 7−24. A novel feature is a concluding section in each of the latter chapters suggesting further studies that could be undertaken to provide more detailed information on each region’s geomorphological development. Chapter 25 compares the units shown on the geological map of Bangladesh and those on the physiographic map in this book. Differences in interpretation of the field evidence are discussed, especially in relation to the origin of the Madhupur Clay and the soils formed over it.

       The book is aimed at geographers, geomorphologists, soil scientists and environmentalists – professionals, academics and students – as well as government and donor officials who need to be aware of the great regional diversity, local complexity and dynamism of Bangladesh’s physical environment.

9. Climate change, sea-level rise and development in Bangladesh (In press)

In his ninth book on Bangladesh’s physical geography and agriculture, the author draws upon his long experience in observing and studying the country’s physical environment, including its climate. Chapters 1 and 2 briefly describe the country’s diverse physiographic regions and its present climate. Chapter 3 then summarises information on the causes of global warming and possible impacts on climate, and draws attention to the serious limitations of climate models relating to the Indian subcontinent.

 

The results of detailed analyses of 50 years of temperature and rainfall records are presented in Chapters 4 and 5. Changes in land use and urban development appear to have changed Bangladesh’s climate more than global warming to-date. Important findings are that maximum temperatures have decreased over much of the country while minimum temperatures have generally increased; temperature and rainfall variability – always great – have not increased; annual rainfall is often, but not always, lower in years with El Nino events and higher in years with La Nina events; and the frequency of droughts, floods and cyclones, described in Chapter 6, has not increased in the past 50 years.

 

The diversity and dynamism of environments in Bangladesh’s seven near-coastal regions, described in Chapter 7, mean that sea-level rise will affect different areas in different ways. Twelve relevant mitigation measures are described in Chapter 8. It is concluded that Bangladesh is not helpless against sea-level rise in the coming decades and that, as argued in Chapter 9, priority should be given to addressing the country’s urgent present development needs.

 

The book is aimed at government and donor officials, NGOs, academics, students, journalists, politicians and the general public who need to be aware of how Bangladesh’s diverse climate and physical environments are actually changing and to see those changes in the perspective of other important changes affecting the country’s development needs.

10. Bangladesh: landscapes, soil fertility and climate change (Awaiting publication)

This book aims to puncture popular myths that Bangladesh is a flat alluvial plain where soil fertility is maintained by silt provided by annual floods and that it will be overwhelmed contour by contour by sea-level rise in the 21st century which will displace many million people.

 

Bangladesh is, in fact, a country of great physical diversity and complexity, illustrated in the book by numerous satellite images. Its floodplains are mainly flooded by rainwater, not by river water, and it is chemical and biological reactions taking place in flooded soils that contribute to their fertility.

 

Analyses of 50 years of the country’s climate data show no evidence of climate change due to global warming to-date, and practical measures are available to counter adverse effects of the slowly rising sea-level. The foreseen rates of climate change and sea-level rise in the 21st century are much slower than the social and economic changes now occurring due to rapid population growth, and it is urged that the latter changes be given priority attention in development planning.

 

The book provides a summary of the author’s two recent books on the country’s physical geography and on climate change and sea-level rise. It is aimed at government and donor officials, NGOs, academics, students, journalists, politicians and the general public who need to be aware of the diversity of Bangladesh’s physical geography and the variability of its climate, and the relevance of that diversity and variability for development planning. The book is being produced in English and Bengali editions.

Ravenscroft, P., H. Brammer and K. Richards Arsenic pollution: a global synthesis. Wiley-Blackwell. 2009

 

Arsenic Pollution compiles and summarises the most up-to-date research on the distribution and causes of arsenic pollution in nature, its impact on health and agriculture, and the encouraging research that offers hope in mitigating the unfolding health crisis. Seamlessly integrating geochemistry, hydrology and agriculture, it offers the first truly global and interdisciplinary account of arsenic pollution. The book provides information on the geographical distribution of arsenic contamination of groundwater and surface water, the geochemical causes of high arsenic concentrations in aquifers and the health implications of prolonged arsenic ingestion. Finally, options are highlighted for developing alternative water sources and methods for arsenic testing and removal.