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    Recovering the lost history of fire in South Africa's Fynbos

    Pooley, Simon (2012) Recovering the lost history of fire in South Africa's Fynbos. Environmental History 17 (1), pp. 55-83. ISSN 1084-5453.

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    Abstract

    From the 1930s, state foresters in South Africa were responsible for managing extensive ecologically sensitive mountain catchment areas. Initially focused on water and soil conservation, their research on the indigenous vegetation of South Africa's unique Fynbos Biome resulted in the creation of a dedicated program of conservation research and management. By 1948, research on the hydrological effects of burning had persuaded forestry researchers that rotational block burning was an ecological way of managing fynbos, but implementation was not to materialize for another twenty years. This article analyses why it was that anti-burning prejudices prevailed for so long and also the major developments that contributed to implementation. By the late 1970s, the fynbos research program would place South African forestry researchers in the first rank of international fire research on Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Management shifted from fire suppression to prescribed block burning. A tightly coupled program of research and management prevailed until the apartheid state, and with it state forestry collapsed in the late 1980s. This article recovers the history of conservation forestry research and management of fire in fynbos, and it explores the environmental consequences of the Department of Forestry's management interventions and also its demise.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 14:12
    Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 14:12
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/23881

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