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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Basutoland: A Historical Journey into the Environment.

Meena Singh

Environment and History 6(2000): 31-70

Reconstructing the environment of Lesotho in order to assess soil erosion at different time scales, highlights conflicting views about the initiation of accelerated erosion. Indigenous agricultural practices were sensitive to the fragile environment and aimed to ensure a protective vegetative cover. The imposition of colonial conservation techniques overlooked local wisdom regarding soil erosion prevention, was often ineffective, and arguably accelerated soil erosion. Loss of flat fertile land to the Boers, changes from indigenous agriculture to commercial cultivation, concentration of population on steep slopes, were among causes that contributed to accelerated erosion, and to indigenous agricultural systems becoming less effective.

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