One Reply to “Colonialism & desertification”

  1. “There were some places in Kenya with mysterious, oval-shaped patches in the plains … These patches are the footprints of ancient cattle corrals from 2,000-3,000 years ago.”
    My take on this from the time I was a botanist in Kenya is that the fertile patches are the impact of old termite mounds. They are far too regularly distributed to be corrals. Termites bring in nutrients from a wide area, in competition with other colonies, hence the spacing. Abandoned mounds then break down to fertile soil and eventually game licks and finally ponds, as soil is taken away.
    And what has this to with Brits and colonialism? Herders are blamed for desertification by conservationists who (mistakenly) think forests are the natural `climax’ vegetation and therefore somehow better. This is actually American, `Clementsian’ ecology. In contrast, the British view was: “…it was Clements’ interpretation of such data acquired on plant succession, in terms of plant communities as super-organisms, which caused Tansley to rebuke him so publicly for notions of ‘holism’.” Tansley was right: Clements wrong.

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