The Rise of Conservation in South Africa: Settlers, Livestock, and the Environment 1770-1950

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This is a major and innovative contribution to the environmental history of settler societies and of South Africa. The Cape, like Australia, became a major exporter of wool. Vast numbers of sheep flooded its semi-arid plains and rapidly transformed its fragile natural pastures. This book analyses the development of conservationalist ideas over the long term in South Africa as a response to these problems.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a meticulous work, and perhaps a milestone in the historiography of South Africa, not only for drawing attention to the rural economy and environment of the Karoo and Cape Midlands, but for its dispassionate and politically neutral tone of addressing fundamental issues central to South Africa's agrarian environmental history."—The Historian

"Beinart's methods are scrupulous, and his book contains a wealth of information for other scholars. The beautifully structured narrative begins with European travelers and scientists and moves into the problems of fire and plant survival, sheep and cattle viruses, drought, irrigation, and introduced species."—American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199261512
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

William Beinart is Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, University of Oxford

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Lists of Figures, Illustrations, Tables, and Maps
Introduction: Livestock Farming and Environmental Regulation at the Cape
1. Scientific Travellers, Colonists, and Africans: Chains of Knowledge and the Cape Vernacular, 1770-1850
2. Defining the Problems: Colonial Science and the Origins of Conservation at the Cape 1770-1860
3. Fire, Vegetation Change, and Pastures 1860-1880
4. Vets, Viruses, and Environmentalism in the 1870s and 1880s
5. Water, Irrigation, and the State 1880-1930
6. The Night of the Jackal: Sheep, Pastures, and Predators 1890-1930
7. Drought, Conservation, and Nationalism: the Career of H. S. du Toit 1900-1940
8. Prickly Pear in the Cape: Useful Plants and Invaders in the Livestock Economy 1890-1950
9. 'The Farmer as a Conservationalist': Sidney Rubidge at Wellwood, Graaff-Reinet 1913-1952
10. Debating Conservation in the African Areas of the Cape 1920-1950
11. Postscript: Debating Degradation over the Long Term: Animals, Veld, and Conservation
Bibliographical Note
Select Bibliography of Secondary Sources

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