An Environmental History of Southern Malawi: Land and People by Brian Morris

By Brian Morris

This publication is a pioneering and complete examine of the environmental heritage of Southern Malawi. With over fifty years of expertise, anthropologist and social ecologist Brian Morris attracts on a variety of info – literary, ethnographic and archival – during this interdisciplinary quantity.
Specifically focussing at the complicated and dialectical dating among the folks of Southern Malawi, either Africans and Europeans, and the Shire Highlands panorama, this learn spans the 19th century till the tip of the colonial interval. It comprises targeted debts of the early background of the peoples of Northern Zambezia; the advance of the plantation economic system and historical past of the tea estates within the Thyolo and Mulanje districts; the Chilembwe uprising of 1915; and the complicated tensions among colonial pursuits in keeping usual assets and the troubles of the Africans of the Shire Highlands in retaining their livelihoods.
A landmark paintings, Morris’s examine constitutes a big contribution to the environmental historical past of Southern Africa. it is going to allure not just to students, yet to scholars in anthropology, economics, background and the environmental sciences, in addition to to someone drawn to studying extra in regards to the background of Malawi, and ecological matters with regards to southern Africa.

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Additional info for An Environmental History of Southern Malawi: Land and People of the Shire Highlands

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It has also been recognized that there are in fact two species of cedar on Mulanje Mountain, namely, the majestic Widdringtonia whytei (syn. W. cupressoides) (mkunguza), which is a broad crowned canopy tree growing to 40 m and Widdringtonia nodiflora, which is a multi-stemmed shrub 4 m tall that grows mainly at the forest edges (White et al. 2001: 82–83). Paradoxically, although Mulanje cedar is extremely sensitive to fire, it is dependent on the intervention of fire for its successful regeneration (Chapman and White 1970: 168).

For fire was essential in the clearing of the woodland for agriculture, the smelting of iron, beer-brewing, the making of pots, the cooking of food, and the hunting of wild animals (nyama), as well as analogically, the initiation of both boys and girls. In the past, the first firing of the woodland was ritually conducted by the local chief, and seen as essential in the regeneration of the woodland and the provision of rain (see the perceptive essay by Schoffeleers 1971; Morris 2000: 180–184). Four final points of interest are worth noting briefly with respect to the ecology of Brachystegia woodland.

2001: 64–65). 4 Submontane Forest Also described as ‘mid-altitude’ forest, the submontane evergreen forest is very similar to that of montane forest in general appearance, and in being dense, shady, cool and moist, but it has a very different floristic composition. This type of forest is found on Chikala hill, most of the higher hills and mountains of the Blantyre district (Chiradzulu—on the Lisau saddle—Ndirande, Soche, Bangwe, Malabvi and a remnant patch THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SHIRE HIGHLANDS 25 on Michiru mountain, prototypically on Thyolo Mountain, as well as at the mid-altitude (3000–4700 feet, 900–1430 m) on Zomba and Mulanje Mountains—respectively the Chivunde Valley above Domasi mission and the Ruo Gorge above Ruo tea estate.

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