Lie of the Land

Lie of the Land

Challenging Received Wisdom on the African Environment

Robin Mearns

Edited by Melissa Leach


James Currey



Questions the reasoning behind Western images of the environmental destruction taking place in Africa.
This book addresses the issue of how environmental orthodoxies become established, and what the alternative and appropriate approaches for policy-making are. It shows that many of the established orthodoxies are ill-conceived or represent the interests of certain powerful groups.
The editors draw together material from 11 key case studies across the continent which use first hand research in different ecological zones.

Melissa Leach & Robin Mearns are Fellows at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex

Published in association with the International African Institute


January 1996
256 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
African Issues
ISBN: 9780852554098
Format: Paperback
James Currey
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email


The title says it all. The collection of essays in this fine book sets out to demolish the myths, half-truths and downright falsehoods that have shaped thinking and policy-making on the African environment over the last few decades....It is always fun to see idols being knocked from their pedestals, though rather disturbing to see a whole gallery of them smashed at once. The authors would not wish us to conclude that there are no serious environmental problems in Africa. But they do urge us to be much more critical about environmental diagnoses, and the data on which they are based. Above all, we should probe the motives of those who propound, accept, and act upon narratives that are unproven and unsound. DEVELOPMENT POLICY REVIEW
... a book of great authority which makes for fascinating reading. New as it is, it has already become a basic text for my third and fourth year classes. - Phillip N. Bradley in JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES engaging work which aims principally to abolish the existing myths surrounding the African environment by questioning the reasons behind those myths. THE GEOGRAPHICAL REVIEW should be required reading by administrators, managers and students on a wide variety of land-use, development and environmental policy courses. COMMONWEALTH FORESTRY

Also in Series