publication . 1996

Misreading African landscapes: Society and ecology in a forest-savanna mosaic

Fairhead, J.; Leach, M.;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 1996
  • Publisher: Great Britain: Cambridge University Press
  • Country: United States
Abstract
Metadata only record 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 close investigation of inhabitants' technical knowledge and practices, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach question these entrenched assumptions. They show, on the contrary, that people have created forest islands around their villages, and 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 tenants in each of these disciplines. ---Series abstract
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Subjects
free text keywords: Savannah, Forestry, Forests, Ecology, History, Landscape assessment, Guinea, Kissidougou, Ecosystem
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