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East of the Cape: Conserving Eden

Foreword: Professor Andrew Balmford, Cambridge University a leading conservation biologist of international repute, who spent six months living and travelling in Eden in the company of the authors.
Chapter 1: Discovering Eden
Introduces Eden - its geography, natural history and its people, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the Industrial Age in South Africa.
Chapter 2: The peopling of Eden
Documents the successive waves of humans who have occupied Eden, starting with Early Stone Age people; then modern humans and their direct descendants, the hunter-gatherer Saan or Bushmen. 2000 years ago, the Khoekhoe herders, relatives of the Saan, entered from the north. The amaXhosa, a cattle-loving and crop-raising people of Nguni descent, penetrated Eden's eastern fringes in the early 1700s. At the same time, Dutch trekboers passed through Eden's western gateways. In 1820, the British arrived to settle the contested Zuurveld.
Chapter 3: Into the thick of it
Describes the plants, animals and habitats of Eden's endemic biome - subtropical thicket - the natural history focus of this book.
Chapter 4: Thicket at work
Delves into the workings of thicket: how the various plant types cope with the thicket's physical and biological environment; the key role played by large and small animals in maintaining thicket's health and appearance; and how thicket ecosystems work.
Chapter 5: The evolution of Eden
Tells the story of the evolution of Eden's physical and biological features - with the emphasis on thicket - by describing the forces that have shaped its scenery, fashioned its climate, and generated its plant and animal life.
Chapter 6: The human footprint
Documents and explains how the integrity of Eden's nature has been the compromised since the rise in the 1860s of the Industrial Age in South Africa, by discounting or ignoring the value of the services supplied to humans by healthy ecosystems; and how, despite 150 years of impact, the semi-arid and rugged nature of much of Eden - as well as a growing concern among some of its inhabitants for the depletion of natural resources - has ensured that some 72 per cent of the land remains in an ecologically healthy state.
Chapter 7: Back to the Garden
Provides a blueprint for conserving Eden for nature and for people, through the encouragement of ecologically sustainable land management throughout its realm.
Further reading


Richard Cowling is a professor in the Botany Department at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape. He has published extensively on the ecology and conservation of the fynbos, succulent karoo and subtropical thicket biomes in scientific and popular literature, and is widely acclaimed for his contribution to the theory and application of conservation science. The National Research Foundation has rated him as a world leader in the subject, and he has been awarded a Pew Fellowship (USA); a Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Conservation Biology (USA); a Gold Award for Innovating Conservation by Cape Action for People and the Environment; and a Flora Conservation Award by the Botanical Society of South Africa. He is also an Elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Richard and his wife, Shirley Pierce, live at Cape St Francis on the Kouga coast.

Shirley M. Pierce PhD is a Science Communication consultant based in Cape St Francis. A plant ecologist, she has extensive experience in editing scientific and popular texts. She co-authored Namaqualand: A succulent desert (Fernwood Press, 1999), co-edited Vegetation of Southern Africa (Cambridge, 1997) and Mainstreaming Biodiversity in South Africa (World Bank, 2002), and was editor of Veld & Flora in the late 1990s. Recent work covered the cultural and natural heritage of the Baviaanskloof, and currently she directs communication for a project on thicket restoration. Shirley has a particular interest in enhancing public awareness of the value of natural systems, in particular among decision makers.

168 pages, hardcover with dustjacket, 300 x 230 mm (portrait), 270 illustrations and 3 maps

ISBN: 978 1 874950 84 4

Price (excl. shipping):   R: 295.00  : 21.85  $: 36.88  : 26.82

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