Read e-book online Burning Table Mountain: An Environmental History of Fire on PDF

By Simon Pooley (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137415444

ISBN-13: 9781137415448

ISBN-10: 1349490598

ISBN-13: 9781349490592

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Additional info for Burning Table Mountain: An Environmental History of Fire on the Cape Peninsula

Sample text

The solution was to issue permits, for example, for the grazing of stock, collection of shells, quarrying of limestone, harvesting of reeds and rushes, collection of wild fruits and clearing and removal of bush. This provided an additional source of income, but brought with it problems, notably concerning fire. In his 1884 report, Lister argued that issuing such permits should be reconsidered, ‘not only to prevent bush fires, which may undoubtedly be traced to the carelessness of reed cutters and wood gatherers, but for the suspicious reason that many bush fires have taken place during one season in places on which licence to graze is requested in the next’.

In 1894 he argued that clearing forests often resulted in the creation of ‘pestilential marshes’. He reported that measurement of the flow of the springs on Mr Breda’s property above the Molteno Reservoir in the Cape Town city bowl had showed that burning the bush around them had diminished their yield. He quoted George Perkins Marsh’s pioneering environmentalist book Man and Nature (1864) on how the felling of forests in France, Germany and Australia had resulted in the failing of springs. e. from a similar climatic region) had collapsed as a result of degrading their environments, notably through deforestation.

Were hard, dry, withered, and half dead . . and unfit for fodder, have now an opportunity of springing up again, so as to produce with their young shoots and leaves, pastures adorned with a delightful verdure for the use of cattle and game. Like Thunberg, Sparrman was not critical of burning per se, commending the positive effects both for the natural vegetation and grazing for livestock and wild animals. However, while returning to the Cape in March 1776, he and his companions were nearly caught up in a runaway bushfire ignited by a farmer to rid his lands of desiccated grass and bushes, and he criticised unsafe burning practices.

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Burning Table Mountain: An Environmental History of Fire on the Cape Peninsula by Simon Pooley (auth.)

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