History of Forests and Climate

  • Alan C. Hamilton


Mankind has greatly altered the distribution and characteristics of tropical forests in Africa (Hall and Swaine, 1981). Forest margins have shrunk with the spread of agriculture and burning, while forest composition and structure have been influenced even in apparently remote places by past settlement or collection of forest products. In a soil survey in apparently pristine or near-pristine forest on the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania, charcoal was found at almost all sites, pottery was encountered in two, and one soil pit even passed through house foundations (Hamilton and Bensted-Smith, 1989). This is not particularly unusual. Ecologists who have walked many kilometres into apparently natural forest often report similar signs of former human occupation (although it is noted that in some cases charcoal could have originated from natural fires).


Core Area Pollen Type Pollen Diagram Lowland Forest Forest Expansion 
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Copyright information

© IUCN 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan C. Hamilton
    • 1
  1. 1.WWF-UKUK

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