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Environment and History

Sir George Stapledon (1882-1960) and the Landscape of Britain

R.J. Moore-Colyer

Environment and History 5(1999): 221-236

This article is concerned with some aspects of the career of Sir George Stapledon, pioneer ecologist, geneticist and agricultural improver. In reviewing some of Stapledon's writings on the regeneration of rural Britain during the inter-war years it places his work within the social and cultural context of the time. Stapledon's suspicions of inductive science and reductionist economics, his concern with holism, 'spiritual values' and 'the nature of things' and his emphasis upon breadth of vision and the cultivation of the imagination was in stark contrast to many scientists of the day. However debatable the effects upon the 'natural' environment may have been, Stapledon's remarkable achievements in upland agricultural improvement were largely responsible for the retention of the social, cultural and economic infrastructure of the hills and uplands of today's Britain.


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