e-book Africa in Crisis: The Causes and Cures of Environmental Bankruptcy (Earthscan Book)

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But what about the future? Is it possible to eliminate the need for disaster relief every decade or so by sparing Africa another round of drought and famine? Or is African famine caused by climatic trends beyond human control?


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Africa in Crisis is Lloyd Timberlake's argument that a viable solution is possible, provided existing resources are managed better. These policies reduce the resilience of the land in the face of even brief climatic adversity. The author rejects the idea that famine is inevitable once the rains stop as fatalistic and argues that with proper management , minor droughts need not cause major crises. Agricultural practices are part of the problem.

The Causes and Cures of Environmental Bankruptcy, 2nd Edition

Timberlake centers his attack on bad environmental management in three areas: cultivation, pastoral systems, and woodfuels. In cultivation and pastoral systems he calls for a return to the traditional systems of shifting areas of cultivation, intercropping and crop diversification, and increasing the range used by animals. Village woodlots and small-scale tree plantations are suggested as ways to increase the wood biomass in areas where a rising population has increased the demand for wood supplies.

Agricultural reform is not, however, a cure-all. One of the reasons more environmentally responsible traditional methods have been abandoned is the inattention of African governments to rural populations.

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    Lecture 3 - Root Causes of the Environmental Crisis

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