Saturday, November 21, 2009

New weeds in Africa - EEH

The Exploring Environmental History Podcast featured yet another interview on the subject of biological invasion and transformations. I will quote the podcast description below.

The guest on this episode of the podcast is William Beinart, Rhodes Professor of race relations and director the African Studies Centre in Oxford. Professor Beinart critiques Alfred Crosby’s idea of ecological imperialism. He argues that from the vantage point of Africa, part of the old world, Crosby’s discussion of asymmetrical plant exchange is problematic. Many species from the America’s were highly successful in Africa. He suggests that demographically, economically, and socially, the benefits have outweighed the costs of such invasive plants as prickly pear from Mexico and black wattle from Australia. The ecological costs have been greater but they are difficult to value. The podcast concludes with some brief comments on the relevance of a more flexible and less purist approach to concepts of biodiversity, and how this might be adapted to cater for transferred plants.

The exploring environmental history podcast is a production by Jan Oosthoek from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

More Exploring Environmental History:
Biological invasions and transformations,
Environmental history: an applied science,
Defining Environmental History with Marc Hall,
Defining Environmental History - Paul Warde,
Defining Environmental History - Donald Worster.