Get An Environmental History of Southern Malawi: Land and People PDF

By Brian Morris

This ebook is a pioneering and entire examine of the environmental background of Southern Malawi. With over fifty years of expertise, anthropologist and social ecologist Brian Morris attracts on quite a lot of information – literary, ethnographic and archival – during this interdisciplinary quantity.
Specifically focussing at the advanced and dialectical dating among the folk of Southern Malawi, either Africans and Europeans, and the Shire Highlands panorama, this learn spans the 19th century until eventually the tip of the colonial interval. It contains specific bills of the early heritage 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 preserving traditional assets and the troubles of the Africans of the Shire Highlands in protecting their livelihoods.
A landmark paintings, Morris’s research constitutes an important contribution to the environmental historical past 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 an individual attracted to studying extra in regards to the historical past of Malawi, and ecological concerns in terms of southern Africa.

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

Example text

MORRIS • As Brachystegia woodland is associated with a strongly seasonal rainfall, and with acidic soils that are generally nutrient-poor, lacking in organic matter, trees in these woodlands tend to form a close relationship with fungi. They thus have ectomycorrhizae in their root systems, enabling them to exploit porous, infertile soils. This means, of course, that Brachystegia woodland is particularly rich in macro fungi (bowa), widely gathered as food by women in the Shire Highlands and throughout Malawi (Campbell 1996: 40; Morris 1987, 2009: 105–142; Williamson 1975: 313–336; Boa 2002).

Other important canopy trees found in the montane forests of Mulanje Mountain include: Ilex mitis (katenji), Podocarpus milanjiansis (mkunguza), Ekebergia capensis and Cassipourea congoensis. The forests are characterized by an abundance of ferns, epiphytic orchids, and in the wetter forests, pendent club mosses (Chapman 1962: 17–20, 1995: 9–21; Chapman and White 1970: 162–163). Although Mulanje Mountain was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1927, throughout the colonial period Mulanje cedar was exploited as a construction timber, being durable, easily-worked, resistant to termites and having a pleasant resinous aroma.

Given its complex geological history it is not surprising that the soils of the Shire Highlands are extremely complex and varied. Most of the main types are named by local people, and their characteristics with respect to agricultural potential and their varied uses were widely recognized (BurttDavy et al. 1936: 15; Berry and Petty 1992: 57). Over much of the Shire Highlands, especially at the mid-altitudes between 2500 feet (760 m) and 4000 feet (1220 m), soils were derived mainly from the gneisses, granulites and syenites.

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