Environment and History

Articles

Vol. 23, No. 1, February

Imagined Forestry: The History of the Scientific Management of Ghana's High Forest Zone
ABSTRACT This paper examines efforts at forest conservation and management since colonial times in the 'High Forest Zone'; the southern part of present day Ghana. It provides a detailed historiology of attempts to apply scientific forestry principles...
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Charting the Flow: Water Science and State Hydrography in the Po Watershed, 1872-1917
ABSTRACT Environmental history literature has acknowledged the role of hydrological knowledge in remaking rivers and water systems. The production of such knowledge, however, has thus far remained in the shadows, along with the human-environment...
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The Sink as a Source: Safeguarding the Raw Water Source of Gothenburg, Sweden, 1860-1980
ABSTRACT The paper studies the case of water pollution in Sweden, and how the city of Gothenburg had to struggle with this issue in order to secure a source of fresh water to satisfy its demand for drinking water. It is argued in the paper that...
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A Sudden Fancy for Tree-Planting? Forest Conservation and the Demise of New Zealand's Provinces
ABSTRACT New Zealand provides a valuable case study of the relationship between colonial statecraft and forest conservation. This article explores the connections between Premier Julius Vogel's Forests Act of 1874 and the abolition of New Zealand's...
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ESEH Notepad
Continuing our survey of environmental history scholarship happening beyond the English language, this Notepad turns to Croatian, and a short overview of recent publications appearing in that language. Zagreb is also the location of the next ESEH conference...
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Editorial
Vol. 23. No. 1 of Environment and History takes what one might call a 'watershed' approach to exploring questions of environmental interaction and stewardship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our subjects here are distinct topics in their...
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Vol. 22, No. 4, November

Sic Utere Tuo Ut Alienam Non Laedas. from Wanton Destruction of Timber Forests to Environmentalism: The Rise of Colonial Environmental and 'Sustainability' Practices in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1938-1961
ABSTRACT This article examines the roots of colonial Zimbabwe's culture of environmentalism--described, here, as increasing social awareness of the rapid deterioration of the environment and the pressing need to take decisive action to counteract...
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Swedish Forestry, Forest Pasture Grazing by Livestock, and Game Browsing Pressure since 1900
ABSTRACT Growing numbers of wild ungulates are increasingly seen by concerned authorities in Europe as posing serious management problems, which include increasing browsing pressure by moose (Alces alces) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in Swedish...
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'Dust Bowls', TVAs and Snowy River Waters: John Heyer, the Valley Is Ours and an Early Post-War 'Image of Australia'
ABSTRACT This paper introduces the story of the 1940s debate between the Australian state of Victoria and the north-bordering state of New South Wales, over Australia's Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme. It describes the campaign imagery generated...
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'In Sight, Insane': Animal Agency, Captivity and the Frozen Wilderness in the Late-Twentieth Century
ABSTRACT In 1979 Bristol Zoo acquired a male polar bear named Misha. Although he was one in a long line of popular attractions, he behaved in ways that the public and, to a lesser degree, the zoological society increasingly judged to be disturbing....
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The Estonian Environmental History Scene: Publications, Exhibitions, Outreach
The Estonian Centre for Environmental History (KAJAK) was established in 2011. Slowly but steadily, the habit of incorporating environmental perspectives into 'classical' historical research has gained a footing in Estonia. Ecocriticism and ecosemiotics...
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Editorial
This edition of Environment and History uses the twentieth century as a frame-work in which to explore a raft of divergent environmental subjects across specific geographies. Covering such topics as forest degradation, nuclear protest, hydro-projects...
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Anti-Nuclear Mobilisation and Environmentalism in Europe: A View from Portugal (1976-1986)
ABSTRACT The article addresses the rise of anti-nuclear mobilisation in Portugal in the 1970s against the backdrop of similar movements across Western Europe. After performing a brief review of the literature on social mobilisation against nuclear...
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Vol. 22, No. 3, August

Editorial
In this issue of Environment and History we tackle a number of issues relating to the question of indigeneity, pondering--in various contexts--questions of imperial authority, contests over resources, political rights and inter-species encounters....
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Indigenous Trees and Forests: Contradictions, Conflict and Conservation in Natal and Zululand (1900-1960)
ABSTRACT At the turn of the nineteenth century, it was estimated that nine-tenths of the identified forests in Natal had been permanently alienated from the Crown through their incorporation into private lands and Native Trust Lands. The entrenchment...
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'Original Lords of the Soil'? the Erosion of Amerindian Territorial Rights in Guyana
ABSTRACT The consequences of State claims to, and controls over, the territories of Guyana's Indigenous Peoples (Amerindians) are traced through successive Dutch and British colonial to post-Independence governments. From the mid-eighteenth century,...
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Australian Aboriginal Traditions about Coastal Change Reconciled with Postglacial Sea-Level History: A First Synthesis
ABSTRACT Like some other oral traditions of Australian Aborigines, those that relate to widespread and enduring coastal inundation appear to be several thousand years old. The best-documented traditions, some mythologised, are presented for six...
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The Entangled Relations of Humans and Nile Crocodiles in Africa, C.1840-1992
ABSTRACT The nature of European explorers' and hunters' perceptions of the wildlife they encountered during their travels, and how this shaped their responses to it, has been surprisingly little studied. This may in part be because of the wealth...
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People in Peril, Environments at Risk: Coolies, Tigers, and Colonial Singapore's Ecology of Poverty
ABSTRACT In recent years, scholars have demonstrated that affluent societies have a disproportionate environmental impact. A focus on wealth, however, can obscure how poverty also propels ecosystem destruction, particularly when combined --as in...
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Between Geography and Words: Portuguese Environmental History from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and Beyond
Probably the most important characteristic of Portugal's way of life is the adjustment to the local, aided by nature itself, which does not often match the development models of other places. Here, one combines desert Mediterranean cultures with water...
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Vol. 22, No. 2, May

Editorial
In this issue we follow up one of the threads of our twentieth anniversary edition on directions for the discipline by pointing to research in one specific area, namely animal (or non-human animal) history. As the four papers in this collection illuminate,...
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'The Country Is Greatly Injured': Human-Animal Relationships, Ecology and the Fate of Empire in the Eighteenth Century Mississippi Valley Borderlands
ABSTRACT At the end of the Seven Years' War, the British Empire made its most serious effort to establish control over the trans-Appalachian west when it sent soldiers and colonists to the formerly-French settlements of the so-called Illinois Country....
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How Many Wolves Does It Take to Protect the Population? Minimum Viable Population Size as a Technology of Government in Endangered Species Management (Norway, 1970s-2000s)
ABSTRACT The article investigates how the protection of wolves in Norway has been conducted in practice since the legal protection of wolves was enacted in the early 1970s, by tracing how political decisions to regulate the number of wolves Norway...
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Birds in Portuguese Literature
ABSTRACT Birds are emblematic natural elements of landscapes. Readily noticeable and appreciated due to their songs and flight, they have been thoroughly used as components of literary scenarios. This paper analyses their representations in a broad...
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Faire Mieux Que la Nature? the History of Eel Restocking in Europe
ABSTRACT Young eel, recruiting from the ocean towards Europe, are most abundant along the Atlantic coast of France. Since 1840, attempts have been made to redistribute them from the areas of highest abundance to other countries and farther inland....
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Reading beyond Your Language Zone: Exploring South of the Alps
After our ESEH conference last summer in France, Environment and History's last Notepad offered a brief overview of recent scholarship in environmental history appearing in that country. We turn in this issue to Italy and the Italian peninsula to summarise...
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Vol. 22, No. 1, February

Editorial
In this issue, our first of 2016, Environment and History presents the usual tour across different geographies and time periods, pointing throughout to the fruitful endeavour of approaching historical questions with an environmental focus and vice...
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Taylor's Valley: What the History of Antarctica's 'Heroic Era' Can Contribute to Contemporary Ecological Research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys
ABSTRACT With a particular focus on ecosystem response to climate change, this paper investigates how a study of Griffith Taylor's 1911 expedition into the McMurdo Dry Valleys in East Antarctica might contribute to contemporary ecological research...
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Star Path to a New World: Reappraising an Account of a Polynesian Voyage to the American Continent from an Environmental History Perspective
ABSTRACT For the past two centuries, scholars from many fields have attempted to prove that Pacific Islanders reached the American continent in pre-Columbian times. Guided by DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating on items like chicken bones and sweet...
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Crisis and Opportunity: Environmental NGOs, Debt-for-Nature Swaps, and the Rise of 'People-Centred' Conservation
ABSTRACT This article presents a history of the rise of 'people-centred' conservation in international environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) during the global debt crisis of the early 1980s. In the mid-1980s, many NGOs embraced complicated...
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Past Management of Energy Demand: Promotion and Adoption of Electric Heating in Britain 1945-1964
ABSTRACT Changes in energy use have been a key part of many dramatic social, economic and environmental changes during the twentieth century and before, making energy interesting to environmental historians. Today, policy makers seek reductions...
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Danger and Displacement in the Dollard: The 1509 Flooding of the Dollard Sea (Groningen) and Its Impact on Long-Term Inequality in the Distribution of Property
ABSTRACT It has frequently been shown that, after severe floods in the pre-industrial period, property within the afflicted rural society often became redistributed more inequitably. This is often seen to be because small farmers did not have the...
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Thinking (and Feeling) Environment in Versailles, Summer 2015
Hot! That is the best way to describe the eighth, biennial ESEH conference in Versailles between 30 June and 3 July 2015. Such were the stimulating presentations and the meteorological conditions during those days in the shadow of the Sun King's chateaux....
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Vol. 21, No. 4, November

Editorial
Somewhat unintentionally, this quarterly edition has turned out to be the 'creepy crawlies' issue--with several papers placing various small critters under consideration as agents in environmental history. Environment and History has long been interested...
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Boring through History: An Environmental History of the Extent, Impact and Management of Marine Woodborers in a Global and Local Context, 500 BCE to 1930s CE
ABSTRACT While depictions of mariners fighting fearsome sea monsters or battling terrifying storms entertain us to this day, it is perhaps ironic that one of the main threats to commerce over the last millennium or more has come from a series of...
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An Ocean of Locusts-The Perception and Control of Insect Pests in Prussian Brandenburg (1700-1850)
ABSTRACT Since the beginning of agrarian societies, coping with animal pests has been an important part of the interaction between humans and their environment. Analysing historical pest-related discourses reveals contemporary knowledge of special...
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Bugs in the Garden: Tea Plantations and Environmental Constraints in Eastern India (Assam), 1840-1910
ABSTRACT This article rethinks the relationship between the tea plantation economy and its built environment, ecological constraints and nature in fin de siecle Assam in eastern India. It does this by analysing the historical role of tea pests and...
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'It Is No Use Advising Us! Command Us and We Will Obey': Livestock Management, Soil Conservation and the State in Southern Rhodesia, C. 1930-50
ABSTRACT This article examines state imposed centralisation and soil conservation policies as pursued by the Southern Rhodesian Department of Native Agriculture, and argues that these were at variance with the state's own veterinary policies. It...
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Order in the Lake: Managing the Sustainability of the Lake Constance Fisheries, 1350-1900
ABSTRACT Around 1350 the authorities of the Lake Constance region began to regulate the local fisheries by issuing fishermen's ordinances and signing fisheries treaties with other principalities with the stated interest of protecting the fish stocks,...
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Reaching beyond Environmental History
In academia today we live in an ever increasingly fragmented world. Although there has been much emphasis on interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and even postdisciplinarity, there have also been tendencies to divide our work into smaller and smaller...
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Vol. 21, No. 03, August

Editorial
Our papers in this issue tackle diverse questions surrounding the protection, promotion and packaging of nature and also point towards the broader usefulness of such categories as identity, responsibility and community in understanding our historical...
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Forced Solidarity: Maintenance of Coastal Defences along the North Sea Coast in the Early Modern Period
ABSTRACT For people living on soft soils near or below sea level in the pre-modern period, flood protection increasingly became a major challenge. This article analyses the organisation of flood protection along the southern shores of the North...
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Guilty, Sexual and Local: Nature for the Nation in the Italian Narrative of the Bel Paese (19Th Century)
ABSTRACT Significant historiographical works have been dedicated to the role of nature in many national cultures, but such studies for the process of development of Italian national identity are still rather rare. This article aims to partially...
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'Protecting the Primitive Natives': Indigenous People as Endangered Species in the Early Nature Protection Movement, 1900-1940
ABSTRACT This paper draws attention to the role of indigenous people in the early nature protection movement in Europe. In the first half of the twentieth century, not only flora and fauna but on several occasions 'natural people' too were the object...
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Marketing Nature: The Canadian National Parks Branch and Constructing the Portrayal of National Parks in Promotional Brochures, 1936-1970
ABSTRACT This article studies the promotional publications of the Canadian National Parks Branch by examining how the ideal national park landscape was constructed in booklets. The study adds to literature that examines the shifting purposes of...
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Famines during the 'Little Ice Age' (1300-1800). Socio-Natural Entanglements in Premodern Societies
Famines occur at the interface of nature and culture. They involve both the bio-physical as well as the social sphere. As 'slow disasters' they provide ample space for the interaction of climate and culture and allow detailed studies of the socio-ecological...
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Vol. 21, No. 02, May

Editorial
Following the last special issue on Transoceanic Exchanges, Environment and History resumes its customary format with five articles that take us on the usual whistle-stop journey across continental and disciplinary borders. In the first paper, Peter...
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Salmonid Acclimatisation in Colonial Victoria: Improvement, Restoration and Recreation 1858-1909
ABSTRACT Aquaculture and salmonid acclimatisation in Victoria drew upon and adapted European and American precedents to reflect local circumstances and priorities. Multiple attempts were made to acclimatise various species of European and American...
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Expanding Sanitary Infrastructure and the Shaping of River History: River Vantaa (Finland) 1876-1982
ABSTRACT This article investigates the environmental history of the River Vantaa, southern Finland, and its interaction with the spatial development of water-related infrastructures in an urbanising environment. The article argues that the overlapping...
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Islamic Law and the Management of Natural Resources in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Ottoman Syria
ABSTRACT Drawing on evidence from seventeenth and eighteenth century Islamic legal sources in Ottoman Syria, the paper examines the laws governing the use and management of natural resources, particularly for agricultural production. Islamic jurists...
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Expanding the Space for Future Resource Management: Explorations of the Timber Frontier in Northern Europe and the Rescaling of Sustainability during the Nineteenth Century
ABSTRACT Analysing international forestry congresses and (by way of example) the exploration of Northern Norway and Finland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the article examines the changing conditions of natural resource management...
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The Concept of Climate Improvement: Colonialism and Environment in German South West Africa
ABSTRACT The desiccation theories formulated in the eighteenth century pointed out the connection between deforestation, rainfall reduction and climate change. After the 'Scramble for Africa' the conservation philosophy of the European colonial...
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Look to the East
My first exposure to Russian environmental history came with reading Douglas Weiner's Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia (2000) as a student. At the time, it was one of the few works available in English...
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Environmental History in Russia: Stages of Development and Promising Research Directions
On 13-15 November 2014, the Elabuga Institute of Kazan Federal University hosted a conference dedicated to the development of environmental history in Russia--a new direction for Russian historians studying the interaction between man and nature in...
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Vol. 21, No. 1, February

Situating African Agency in Environmental History
Africa plays a pivotal role on two distinct stages of world history: the European expansion westward to the Americas and the circulation of people, plants and ideas in the Indian Ocean World. The African Diaspora typically evokes the forced migration...
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African Oil Palms, Colonial Socioecological Transformation and the Making of an Afro-Brazilian Landscape in Bahia, Brazil
ABSTRACT Environmental histories of the African diaspora challenge Eurocentric interpretations of the Columbian Exchange by identifying African antecedents in New World landscapes and cultures. This paper joins that effort by tracing the formation...
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Marooned Plants: Vernacular Naming Practices in the Mascarene Islands
ABSTRACT This article explores possible histories of plant exchanges and plant naming tied to the slave trade between East Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands. The subsequent 'marronnage' of slaves on these islands--their escape from captivity,...
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How Africans and Their Descendants Participated in Establishing Open-Range Cattle Ranching in the Americas
ABSTRACT Following the introduction of cattle into the Caribbean in 1493, open-range ranching proliferated in a series of frontiers across the grasslands of the Americas through the nineteenth century, establishing novel social and environmental...
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Elusive Traces: Baobabs and the African Diaspora in South Asia
ABSTRACT The history of botanical exchanges between Africa and the Indian subcontinent reaches back in time over 5,000 years. Recent advances in archaeobotany have revealed these connections through evidence of food crops of African origin found...
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Food Traditions and Landscape Histories of the Indian Ocean World: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections
ABSTRACT Environmental histories of plant exchanges have largely centred on their economic importance in international trade and on their ecological and social impacts in the places where they were introduced. Yet few studies have attempted to examine...
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Bodies between Catastrophes and Control
In the last decades, bodies have found their way to environmental history as the most radical links between nature and humans. (1) 'Bellies, Bodies, "Policey": Embodied Environments Between Catastrophes and Control', a joint conference held 12-14 September...
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Vol. 20, No. 04, November

Not by Human Hands: Five Technological Tenets for Environmental History in the Anthropocene
ABSTRACT Technologies in the hands of humans have turned humans into a force of nature. Environmental historians have increasingly recognised the value of history of technology to explain many environmental changes. Scholarship at the environment-technology...
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Among Animals
ABSTRACT The tendency to see humans as special and separate influences even practices like scientific taxonomy which explicitly place them among other animals. The animal-related scholarship that has emerged throughout the humanities and social...
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Borderland, No-Man's Land, Nature's Wonderland: Troubled Humanity and Untroubled Earth
ABSTRACT Building on an interest in the presence of biodiversity where we do not expect to find it, this essay ponders the irony that human strife can be beneficial for the rest of nature by investigating the coexistence of troubled humanity and...
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Coastal Cities and Environmental Change (1)
ABSTRACT This paper explores the complex environmental relationships of coastal cities with their shorelines and the sea. Cities developed in coastal locations because they offered easy access to fisheries, trade and commerce, transport, attractive...
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Telling the Right Story: Environmental Violence and Liberation Narratives
ABSTRACT Half a century ago, Silent Spring showed the world how violence against living and non-living matter, by way of petrochemcial contamination, is related to violence against humans. This is a fundamental lesson of twentieth century environmental...
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Environmental and Veterinary History-Some Themes and Suggested Ways Forward
ABSTRACT This article gives an overview of a number of contemporary trends in veterinary and environmental history. It opens with some ideas as to why veterinary history has become more popular in recent years and suggests that the global publicity...
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Rethinking the British Empire through Eco-Cultural Networks: Materialist-Cultural Environmental History, Relational Connections and Agency
ABSTRACT In this short discussion, we use examples from the British Empire to introduce the concept of eco-cultural networks as a lens for examining interconnected, wide-ranging social and environmental processes. We present three conceptual advances...
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Editorial
Our cover image for this special twentieth anniversary issue depicts the Ferris wheel from the Pripyat amusement park, Ukraine. Built to entertain the town's 50,000 residents, many of whom worked at the nearby Chernobyl plant, the park was scheduled...
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Climate, Change, History
ABSTRACT Climate deserves to be a keyword in the vocabulary of culture and society. Its nature, history and vicissitudes in relation to human affairs are key concepts organising our ideas of the aerial environment and our relationship to it. The...
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Geographies of Man: Environmental Influence from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
In recent decades, fears of climate change, resource consumption and irreversible environmental damage have made us more aware of how profoundly embedded we are in the natural world. There is growing concern not only with how we impact upon weather,...
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Vol. 20, No. 3, August

Editorial
In this issue of Environment and History we tackle a plethora of issues across a raft of geographies, subjects and time periods. From mining to climatology, Europe to the Antipodes and orchids to snakes, the articles assembled here offer a keen indicator...
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The Grass Snake and the Basilisk: From Pre-Christian Protective House God to the Antichrist
ABSTRACT The grass snake owes its far northern distribution in Europe to the production and hoarding of dung from stock breeding. Dung heaps appear to be perfect breeding sites that surpass 'natural' reproduction sites in quality. Here we point...
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Looking Backwards into a Mediterranean Edge Environment: Landscape Changes in El Congost Valley (Catalonia), 1850-2005
ABSTRACT We examine the evolution from the mid-nineteenth century to the present of the cultural landscape in two Catalan townships that jointly constitute an edge environment between Mediterranean plain and mountain. This environmental edge has...
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Climate Variability and Societal Dynamics in Pre-Colonial Southern African History (AD 900-1840): A Synthesis and Critique
ABSTRACT The role of climate variability in pre-colonial southern African history is highly disputed. We here provide a synthesis and critique of climate--society discourses relating to two regionally--defining periods of state formation and disaggregation....
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