This series publishes important regional and subregional studies of global and comparative environmental history. The editor seeks to publish the best of emerging literature on the environmental history of the wider world.


James L. A. Webb, Jr., Series Editor
Dept. of History
Colby College
Waterville, ME 04901

In Slavery, Agriculture, and Malaria in the Arabian Peninsula, Benjamin Reilly illuminates a previously unstudied phenomenon: the large-scale employment of people of African ancestry as slaves in agricultural oases within the Arabian Peninsula.

Malaria is an infectious disease like no other: it is a dynamic force of nature and Africa’s most deadly and debilitating malady. James C. McCann tells the story of malaria in human, narrative terms and explains the history and ecology of the disease through the science of landscape change. All malaria is local.

Indigenous knowledge has become a catchphrase in global struggles for environmental justice. Yet indigenous knowledges are often viewed, incorrectly, as pure and primordial cultural artifacts. This collection draws from African and North American cases to argue that the forms of knowledge identified as “indigenous” resulted from strategies to control environmental resources during and after colonial encounters.

The landscapes of the Middle East have captured our imaginations throughout history. Images of endless golden dunes, camel caravans, isolated desert oases, and rivers lined with palm trees have often framed written and visual representations of the region. Embedded in these portrayals is the common belief that the environment, in most places, has been deforested and desertified by centuries of misuse.

Mad Dogs and Meerkats

A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa

By Karen Brown

Through the ages, rabies has exemplified the danger of diseases that transfer from wild animals to humans and their domestic stock. In South Africa, rabies has been on the rise since the latter part of the twentieth century despite the availability of postexposure vaccines and regular inoculation campaigns for dogs. In Mad Dogs and Meerkats: A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa, Karen Brown links the increase of rabies to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Is Italy il bel paese—the beautiful country—where tourists spend their vacations looking for art, history, and scenery? Or is it a land whose beauty has been cursed by humanity’s greed and nature’s cruelty? The answer is largely a matter of narrative and the narrator’s vision of Italy.

Healing the Herds

Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine

Edited by Karen Brown and Daniel Gilfoyle

During the early 1990s, the ability of dangerous diseases to pass between animals and humans was brought once more to the public consciousness. These concerns continue to raise questions about how livestock diseases have been managed over time and in different social, economic, and political circumstances.

The Game of Conservation

International Treaties to Protect the World’s Migratory Animals

By Mark Cioc

The Game of Conservation is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable examination of nature protection around the world. Twentieth-century nature conservation treaties often originated as attempts to regulate the pace of killing rather than as attempts to protect animal habitat.

Wielding the Ax

State Forestry and Social Conflict in Tanzania, 1820–2000

By Thaddeus Sunseri

Forests have been at the fault lines of contact between African peasant communities in the Tanzanian coastal hinterland and outsiders for almost two centuries. In recent decades, a global call for biodiversity preservation has been the main challenge to Tanzanians and their forests. Thaddeus Sunseri uses the lens of forest history to explore some of the most profound transformations in Tanzania from the nineteenth century to the present.

Resurrecting the Granary of Rome

Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa

By Diana K. Davis

Tales of deforestation and desertification in North Africa have been told from the Roman period to the present. Such stories of environmental decline in the Maghreb are still recounted by experts and are widely accepted without question today. International organizations such as the United Nations frequently invoke these inaccurate stories to justify environmental conservation and development projects in the arid and semiarid lands in North Africa and around the Mediterranean basin.

Triumph of the Expert

Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism

By Joseph Morgan Hodge

The most striking feature of British colonialism in the twentieth century was the confidence it expressed in the use of science and expertise, especially when joined with the new bureaucratic capacities of the state, to develop natural and human resources of the empire. Triumph of the Expert is a history of British colonial doctrine and its contribution to the emergence of rural development and environmental policies in the late colonial and postcolonial period.

Inventing Pollution

Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800

By Peter Thorsheim

Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke.

How Green Were the Nazis?

Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich

Edited by Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Mark Cioc, and Thomas Zeller

The Nazis created nature preserves, championed sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature. How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich is the first book to examine the Third Reich's environmental policies and to offer an in-depth exploration of the intersections between brown ideologies and green practices.

Imperial Gullies

Soil Erosion and Conservation in Lesotho

By Kate B. Showers

Once the grain basket for South Africa, much of Lesotho has become a scarred and degraded landscape. The nation’s spectacular erosion and gullying have concerned environmentalists and conservationists for more than half a century. In Imperial Gullies: Soil Erosion and Conservation in Lesotho, Kate B. Showers documents the truth behind this devastation. Showers reconstructs the history of the landscape, beginning with a history of the soil.

Highland Sanctuary

Environmental History in Tanzania's Usambara Mountains

By Christopher A. Conte

For more than a century, the world has recognized the extraordinary biological diversity of the forests of Tanzania’s Usambara Mountains. As international attention has focused on forest conservation, farmers, foresters, biologists, and the Tanzanian state have realized that only complex negotiations will save these treasured, but rapidly disappearing, landscapes.

Inventing Global Ecology

Tracking the Biodiversity Ideal in India, 1947–1997

By Michael L. Lewis

Blue jeans, MTV, Coca-Cola, and… ecology? We don't often think of conservation sciences as a U.S. export, but in the second half of the twentieth century an astounding array of scientists and ideas flowed out from the United States into the world, preaching the gospel of conservation-oriented ecology.

The explosion of interest in African environmental history has stimulated research and writing on a wide range of issues facing many African nations. This collection represents some of the finest studies to date. The general topics include African environmental ideas and practices; colonial science, the state and African responses; and settlers and Africans' culture and nature.

Environmental history in southern Africa has only recently come into its own as a distinct field of historical inquiry. While natural resources lie at the heart of all environmental history, the field opens the door to a wide range of inquiries, several of which are pioneered in this collection. South Africa's Environmental History offers a series of local and particular studies followed by more general commentary and comparative studies.

Eroding the Commons

The Politics of Ecology in Baringo, Kenya, 1890s–1963

By David M. Anderson

Colonial Baringo was largely unnoticed until drought and localized famine in the mid-1920s led to claims that its crisis was brought on by overcrowding and livestock mismanagement. In response to the alarm over erosion, the state embarked on a program for rehabilitation, conservation, and development.

Tropical Pioneers

Human Agency and Ecological Change in the Highlands of Sri Lanka, 1800–1900

By James L. A. Webb Jr.

In 1800, the highlands of Sri Lanka had some of the most biologically diverse primary tropical rainforest ecosystems in the world. By 1900, only a few craggy corners and mountain caps had been spared the fire stick. Highland villagers, through the extension of slash-and-burn agriculture, and British managers, through the creation of plantations—first of coffee, then cinchona, and finally tea—had removed virtually the entire primary forest cover.

Encountering the Past in Nature

Essays in Environmental History

Edited by Timo Myllyntaus and Mikko Saikku

A deeper understanding of contemporary environmental problems requires us to know where we come from, and the study of environmental history will help us in that quest. Environmental history, in short, may be described as an attempt to study the interaction between humans and nature in the past. How have human societies affected their environment and vice versa? What does history tell us about ecological change?

The Green Archipelago

Forestry in Preindustrial Japan

By Conrad Totman

This inaugural volume in the Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History is the paperback edition of Conrad Totman’s widely acclaimed study of Japan’s environmental policies over the centuries. Professor Totman raises the critical question of how Japan’s steeply mountainous woodland has remained biologically healthy despite centuries of intensive exploitation by a dense human population that has always been dependent on wood and other forest products.