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An Environmental History of Southern Malawi: Land and People - download pdf or read online

By Brian Morris

This ebook is a pioneering and finished research of the environmental historical past of Southern Malawi. With over fifty years of expertise, anthropologist and social ecologist Brian Morris attracts on a variety of facts – literary, ethnographic and archival – during this interdisciplinary quantity.
Specifically focussing at the advanced and dialectical courting among the folks of Southern Malawi, either Africans and Europeans, and the Shire Highlands panorama, this examine spans the 19th century until eventually the tip of the colonial interval. It contains distinct debts of the early background of the peoples of Northern Zambezia; the advance of the plantation economic system and background of the tea estates within the Thyolo and Mulanje districts; the Chilembwe uprising of 1915; and the complicated tensions among colonial pursuits in retaining traditional assets and the troubles of the Africans of the Shire Highlands in protecting their livelihoods.
A landmark paintings, Morris’s learn constitutes a huge contribution to the environmental heritage of Southern Africa. it's going to charm not just to students, yet to scholars in anthropology, economics, background and the environmental sciences, in addition to to a person attracted to studying extra in regards to the heritage of Malawi, and ecological concerns in terms of southern Africa.

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Example text

Finally, it is worth noting that within Brachystegia woodlands there are often low-lying depressions and valley bottoms that are collectively known as ‘dambos’. Often seasonally waterlogged, they are generally covered in short grasses and various flowering plants. As we have discussed elsewhere (2009 [1995]: 213–233) Brachystegia woodland was a constituent part of the socio-economic and ritual life of the people of the Shire Highlands. But during the twentieth century, with an increasing human population, much of the Brachystegia woodland that once covered the Shire Highlands has been replaced by croplands—subsistence cultivations, blue-gum plantations, tobacco farms and tea gardens.

Among the trees common in riparian forest are the following: Khaya anthotheca (syn. K. nyasica) (mbawa), Adina microcephala (chonya), Erythrophleum suaveolens (mwabvi)—the famous poison ordeal tree—Bridelia micrantha (mpasa), Harungana madagascariensis (mbuluni), Syzygium cordatum (nyowe) and Trema orientalis (mpefu). Many of these trees, such as mbawa, chonya and mpasa are useful timber trees, widely used in the manufacture of furniture and other household goods. The palm Raphia farinifera (chiwale) is also THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SHIRE HIGHLANDS 27 characteristic of riparian forest, herbaceous plants of the families Araceae and Zingiberaceae are common in the undergrowth, and epiphytic orchids often festoon the tree canopy (Chapman and White 1970: 160–161; White et al.

3 Large mammals known to have existed in the Shire Highlands at the end of the nineteenth century Black rhinoa Buffaloa Bushbuck Bushpig Cane rat Civet Elanda Elephanta Genet Hippopotamusa Klipspringer Kudua Hartebeesta Lion Oribia Otter Pangolin Sun squirrel Bush squirrel Porcupine Red forest duiker Reedbuck Sablea Serval Side-stripped jackal Spotted hyena Vervet monkey Warthog Waterbucka Wild cat Wild doga Yellow baboon Zebraa a No longer occurs in the Shire Highlands (Morris 2006a: 81) Within only a few decades many of the larger mammals of the Shire Highlands had been completely eradicated, and there was a serious decline in the mammalian fauna, specifically the larger ‘game’ animals (Hayes 1972; Dudley 1979; Morris 2006a: 78–83).

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