Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic / Edition 1

Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic / Edition 1

by James Fairhead, Melissa Leach
     
 

Islands of dense forest in the savanna of 'forest' Guinea have long been regarded by both scientists and policy-makers as the last relics of a once more extensive forest cover, degraded and degrading fast due to its inhabitants' land use. Through meticulous use of historical sources, and an investigation of inhabitants' technical knowledge and practices, James… See more details below

Overview

Islands of dense forest in the savanna of 'forest' Guinea have long been regarded by both scientists and policy-makers as the last relics of a once more extensive forest cover, degraded and degrading fast due to its inhabitants' land use. Through meticulous use of historical sources, and an investigation of inhabitants' technical knowledge and practices, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach question these entrenched assumptions. They show, on the contrary, how people have created forest islands around their villages, and how they have turned fallow vegetation more woody, so that population growth has implied more forest, not less. They also consider the origins, persistence and consequences of a century of erroneous policy. Interweaving historical, social anthropological and ecological data, this unique study advances a novel theoretical framework for ecological anthropology, forcing a radical re-examination of some central tenets in each of these disciplines.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521564991
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1996
Series:
African Studies Series, #90
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.87(d)

Table of Contents

List of plates
List of figures
List of tables
Note on authorship and research collaboration
Acknowledgements
Linguistic conventions
Introduction1
1Convictions of forest loss in policy and ecological science24
2Forest gain: historical evidence of vegetation change55
3Settling a landscape: forest islands in regional social and political history86
4Ecology and society in a Kuranko village115
5Ecology and society in a Kissi village149
6Enriching a landscape: working with ecology and deflecting successions176
7Accounting for forest gain: local land use, regional political economy and demography210
8Reading forest history backwards: a century of environmental policy237
9Sustaining reversed histories: the continual production of views of forest loss261
10Towards a new forest-savanna ecology and history279
App. IGlossary of plant names296
App. IICassette recordings of oral accounts and discussions310
Notes314
List of references327
Index348

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