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Tree Castles And Population Bombs

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Chapter Summary

Population pressure has been identified as the major force for environmental change in the twentieth century. Malthus argued that population increased at a far greater rate than food production, and neo-Malthusian analysis identifies population growth as the principal cause of deforestation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The kings and other notables resided in formidable tree castles and the homesteads of the local populations also were protected by palisade enclosures, which typically consisted of wooden poles. Despite an undeniable shortage of wood resources in parts of Ovamboland, the dire predictions that it would degenerate into a desert had not materialized. Until the 1940s, 'the population' factor in Ovamboland exerted its most important influence through migrations and flight, and not through the mechanics of any 'population bomb'. Population may play a critical role in environmental change even under conditions where overall population-to-land ratios appear to be low.

Keywords: Africa; Malthus; migrations; Ovamboland; population bombs; tree castles



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