“This book is a seminal work. It is impassioned, timely history that contributes by its sweep, subject, and approach. Because the author examines a wide variety of factors, including economics, politics, institutions, population, culture, and the environment, the book is a model of sound historical thinking.”
Journal of Asian Studies
This inaugural volume in the Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History is the paperback edition of Conrad Totman’s widely acclaimed study of Japan’s environmental policies over the centuries.
Professor Totman raises the critical question of how Japan’s steeply mountainous woodland has remained biologically healthy despite centuries of intensive exploitation by a dense human population that has always been dependent on wood and other forest products. Mindful that in global terms this has been a rare outcome, and one that bears directly on Japan’s recent experience as an affluent, industrial society, Totman examines the causes, forms, and effects of forest use and management in Japan during the millennium to 1870. He focuses mainly on the centuries after 1600 when the Japanese found themselves driven by their own excesses into programs of woodland protection and regenerative forestry.
Conrad Totman, retired from a career teaching Japanese history at Northwestern and Yale universities, is the author of several books, including Early Modern Japan and The Lumber Industry in Early Modern Japan. More info →
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Forests of Gold is a collection of essays on the peoples of Ghana with particular reference to the most powerful of all their kingdoms: Asante. Beginning with the global and local conditions under which Akan society assumed its historic form between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, these essays go on to explore various aspects of Asante culture: conceptions of wealth, of time and motion, and the relationship between the unborn, the living, and the dead.
A deeper understanding of contemporary environmental problems requires us to know where we come from, and the study of environmental history will help us in that quest. Environmental history, in short, may be described as an attempt to study the interaction between humans and nature in the past. How have human societies affected their environment and vice versa? What does history tell us about ecological change?
Highland Sanctuary unravels the complex interactions among agriculture, herding, forestry, the colonial state, and the landscape itself. Conte’s study illuminates the debate over conservation, arguing that contingency and chance, the stuff of human history, have shaped forests in ways that rival the power of nature.