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Environment and History

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Environment and History

War, Emergency and the Environment: Fiji, 1939-1946

Judith A. Bennett

Environment and History 7(2001): 255-287

When World War Two broke out, Fiji's colonial administration assumed emergency powers to marshal the civilian population to produce goods and services for the war effort, particularly the support of American and New Zealand military personnel based there during 1942-43. This context of emergency framed land legislation revision, enabling the government at times to deal in a high-handed manner in resuming Fijian leased land for native reserves, mainly from Indian tenants. The added population and wartime construction placed extensive demands on Fiji's resources, inducing environmental changes. The government as well as the various racial groups in Fiji were largely unconcerned with this unless the degradation was obvious, threatening the well-being of the human population.

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