African farmers and herders modify landscapes in far more subtle and unexpected ways than commonly depicted in environment and development debates. This interdisciplinary collection uses collaborative research from the major savanna regions which stretch across Africa to make its case, and covers topics such as land users and landscapes, pastoral ecologies and policy, producers and resources. Environmental thinking about Africa is dominated by narratives of degradation and chaos. The contributors demonstrate that the empirical foundations of such long-held views are shaky at best.
Thomas J. Bassett is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign; Donald Crummey is Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Contents: I Introduction African savannas: contested images, contested realities: environment & society in African savannas by Thomas J. Bassett & Donald Crummey; II Longue Duree Changing land use & environmental fluctuations in the African savanna by Martin Williams; III Land Users & Landscapes Fire in the savanna: environmental change & land tenure reform in northern Cote d'Ivoire by Thomas J. Bassett, Zueli Koli Bi & Tiona Ouattara; Investing in soil quality: farmer responses to land scarcity in southwestern Burkina Faso by Leslie Gray; Farmer tree planting in Wallo, 1937-97 by Donald Crummey & Alex Winter-Nelson; The wild vegetation cover of western Burkina Faso: colonial policy & post-colonial developments by Mahir Saul, Jean-Marie Ouadba & Ouetian Bognounou; IV Pastoral Ecologies Rethinking interdisciplinary paradigms & the political ecology of pastoralism in East Africa by Peter D. Little; Pastoralism & highland savannas: Grassfields (Cameroon) & Ngorongoro (Tanzania) by Jean Boutrais; V Policy, Producers & Resources Ecological 'crisis' & resource management policy in Zimbabwe's communal lands by William Munro; Littering the landscape: environmental policy in northeast Ethiopia by Dessalegn Rahmato; Social differentiation, farming practices & environmental change in Mozambique by Merle L. Bowen, Alrindo Chilundo & Cesar A. Tique