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South Asian and Australasian Forestry Anxieties and Exchanges, 1870s–1920s

  • James Beattie
Chapter
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series

Abstract

This chapter builds upon previous ones on the influence of particular groups to examine some of the direct exchanges of environmental anxieties and policies that shaped Australasian and South Asian conservation into the early-twentieth century. Advocates of forest conservation in Australasia drew upon the same centres of environmental knowledge (notably India by the 1870s, but also Germany and France and, by the early 1900s, the US) at the same time as they accumulated local knowledge of environmental processes and problems. This chapter reveals that they constructed similar arguments to justify forest protection, demonstrating that what Richard Grove identified as an ‘Edenic’ narrative of conservation on tropical islands also applied to Australasia.3 An Edenic argument went something like this: Colonisation and the unfettered example of private interests, proponents of conservation argued, caused an Environmental Fall, resulting in deforestation and, with it, alternating cycles of drought and flooding that threatened agricultural production. Only state-directed scientific forest conservation and forestation, they argued, could reverse the excesses of private interests and restore agricultural prosperity to areas ruined by deforestation. Through examination of the forests-climate idea in Australasia and India, this chapter also examines the changing relationship between environmental anxieties and scientific credibility.

Keywords

Soil Erosion Forest Conservation Forest Department Indian Forester Zealand Forest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© James Beattie 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Beattie
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WaikatoNew Zealand

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