New Publication on Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa

conservation south africa

19 Nov New Publication on Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa

conservation south africabook cover

The World Forest History series, published by the ANU Press, is happy to announce the publication of Brett Bennett’s and Fred Kruger’s new book, Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa: History, Science and Policy. The book is available free online and through a print-on-demand softcover format.


About the book:

Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa is an innovative interdisciplinary study that focuses on the history, science, and policy of tree planting and water conservation in South Africa. South Africa’s forestry sector has sat—often controversially—at the crossroads of policy and scientific debates regarding water conservation, economic development, and biodiversity protection. Bennett and Kruger show how debates about the hydrological impact of exotic tree planting in South Africa shaped the development of modern scientific ideas and state policies relating to timber plantations, water conservation, invasive species control, and biodiversity management within South Africa as well as elsewhere in the world. Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa shows how scientific research on the impact of exotic and native vegetation led to the development of a comprehensive national policy for conserving water, producing timber, and protecting indigenous species from invasive alien plants. Policies and laws relating to forests and water began to change in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a result of political and administrative changes within South Africa. This book suggests that the country’s contemporary policies towards timber plantations, guided by the National Water Act of 1998, need to be reconsidered in light of the authors’ findings. Bennett and Kruger also call for more interdisciplinary research and greater emphasis on integrated policies and management plans for forestry, invasive alien plants, water conservation, and biodiversity preservation.

book cover

About the authors:

Brett Bennett is Senior Lecturer in History in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University and a Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. Bennett is author of Plantations and Protected Areas: A Global History of Forest Management (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015), editor with Joseph Hodge of Science and Empire: Knowledge and Networks Across the British Empire, 1800– 1970 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and author of many chapters and articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

Fred Kruger is a Research Associate in the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State. During his career, Kruger has served in a variety of research and executive positions, including the Officer in Charge at the Jonkershoek Forestry Research Station, Director of the South African Forestry Research Institute, Director of Forestek (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), and as a consultant and educator. Kruger played a leading role in creating policies in South Africa to manage fire and catchments, jointly developed and then helped direct the first global survey on exotic species through the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment in the 1980s, and served as a leading contributor to the new National Forests Act and National Veld and Forest Fire Act in the 1990s. Currently, he pursues ecological research, teaches on the South Africa program of the Organisation for Tropical Studies, and writes about the history of science in environmental management in South Africa.


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