Conservation

Applied Instrumentation in the Process Industries: Practical by William G Andrew

By William G Andrew

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While it is paternalistic and predicated on the superior analytical power of formal science, this work reads now like the first scientific recognition that African farming was ordered, intelligently designed and adapted to local environmental conditions. It seems like a forerunner of the celebration of indigenous knowledge that became fashionable in development studies half a century later. However, this kind of insight was the exception, not the rule. Conventional colonial scientific wisdom emphasized the risks of local agriculture and stockkeeping.

Concern to secure wilderness was an important element in the foundation of the first US national parks during the closing decades of the 19th century, and became the leading issue in debates about their management in the 20th (Nash, 1982; Runte, 1987). For many Europeans, both in the colonial era and after, the open savanna landscapes of Africa have been understood as ‘a lost Eden in need of protection and preservation’ (Neumann, 1996, p80). The survival of great numbers of large mammals (whose Pleistocene equivalents in Eurasia, the Americas and Australasia had been extirpated) contributed to the sense that Africa was a place apart, where nature persisted in a more complete and damaged state.

It seems like a forerunner of the celebration of indigenous knowledge that became fashionable in development studies half a century later. However, this kind of insight was the exception, not the rule. Conventional colonial scientific wisdom emphasized the risks of local agriculture and stockkeeping. Farmers, pastoralists and forest users were short-sighted and ignorant of the implications of their actions: local systems of resource use threatened nature, for they led almost inevitably to degradation.

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