3. Soil Erosion LECTURE

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3. Colonialism, soil erosion and land conservation in Africa LECTURE

Europena perspectives on Africa, and their virew of traditional african hunting as unacceptable, did affect policies regarding the environment: the values and attitudes shape policy and change over time. To understand environmental policies today it's helpful to understand how views have changed over time. 

Influences on colonial agricultural policy

LOOKING AFTER ENVIRONEMTN & IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY. 1930s onwards the colonial state became increasingly concerned about the environmental state, and the desire ot modernise agricultural produciton systems / made more productive and orderly. The want to modernise in their view justified their presence there in the first place. 

What shaped these views?
Colonial conerns about soil erosion were influenced by ideas from accross the globe. Flow between UK and different colonies: a network of information and ideas. Th ecolonial office in London was one of the sources of these ideas which were also influenced by America. Stockdale visited Am which was crititcal in changes in UK's approaches, director of agriculture in Kenya among others were also sent to America to learn about soil erosion and control measures in 1930s. 

THE IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF TROPICAL AGRICULTURE IN TRINIDAD. Officers of science trained for a year here to modernise ag. Can be compared to NGO workers today. Very enthusiastic and ambitious. 

INFO FLOWING BETWEEN COLONIES. South Africa and Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho. officers would tour other colonies and write circulated reports - info from all over/ Conferences. 

At the time agricultural production meant cash crops: sugar, cotton, tobacco, cocoa etc for the west. But people in the colonies were also encouraged to grow these crops to sell to have the money to pay their taxes. Different areas suit different cash crops. Uganda, cotton, cocoa Ghana grown small scale. In settler colonies Kenya and Zimbabwe grew crops aimed at white settlers and arfican farmers. Plantation crops e.g. tea in Uganda dnd Kenya, rubber in Malaysia grown by outsiders. Officials finding suitable crops for different areas. 

1930s increasing focus on environment. Overcrowding, overpopulated and suffering soil erosion. These concerns began to dominate and ag policy was lead by it.


Political: damage by overpop and poor farming to soil. In Kenya white settlers used this to justify their occupation of white highlands. If africans can't manage the land they already have, why give them more in the potential expansion of white highlands?

Population increase: slow increazse in 1920 but 1930s it was dramatic. Related to imprpved health and sanitation, but came with an increase in land undercultivation. Kenya: euro settlers next to reserves so noticed effects of overcrownding on reserves. Tanzania 'plant more crops' campaign. Government initiation in response to price falls in…


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