Tag: history of science

Some thoughts on trees, documents and digital technology

How can digital technology unlock the secrets of an arboretum and make it available to a wide audience? That was one of the main questions of the keynote talk by Jennifer Gardner, curator of the Waite Arboretum at the University of Adelaide, opening the 9th conference of the Australian Forest History Society (AFHS).

In 1928 the arboretum was established on land that was given by Peter Waite (1834-1922), pastoralist and benefactor, to the University of Adelaide. Over time the collection of the arboretum evolved into a valuable resource for teaching, research and a bank of genetic plant and tree material. The collection has been meticulously documented and in the 1980s the handwritten system cards were transferred into a computer database. Continue reading

Podcast 51: The Scottish forestry experience and the development of forestry in India

Since at least the 18th century Scotland has been the centre of forestry knowledge in Britain. Many foresters and botanists trained on Scottish estates went into the colonial service in during the 19th century and what they brought with them was a unique set of forestry skills. This paper examines the influence of Scottish foresters on the development of empire forestry in British India. Scottish-trained foresters aided the adaptation of continental forestry models, mainly German and French, to the Indian conditions, drawing on their experience gained in Scotland. Returning from their service in India they went on to advocate the creation of a forestry service in Scotland, which resonated with landowners who believed that forestry would make the Highlands more productive.

This podcast is the registration of a seminar talk given by Jan Oosthoek in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, 22 March 2013.

Music credit
Where You Are Now” by Zapac Available from ccMixter

 

Podcast 14: Botanists, colonists and local knowledge of nature in South Africa

First of two episodes devoted to environmental history of South Africa. South Africa is one of the most culturally and ecologically diverse countries in the world. Different cultures interpret and understand nature in different ways and that was nowhere more visible than in colonial South Africa. In this episode Elizabeth Green-Musselman, a historian of science based at the Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, explores how a hybridized knowledge of nature developed in the cape colony blending local and European knowledge. The issues discussed include the impact of European cultivation, conflicts over natural resources and the role of naturalists in conservation and what they learned from local guides during botanical expeditions during the 18th and 19th centuries. The podcast concludes with a brief consideration of the benefits of the interactions and collaboration between environmental historians and historians of science.

Websites mentioned in this podcast:

 

The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and Forestry

Introduction

Location of Glen Roy

Location of Glen Roy

Just South of the Great Glen next to Loch Lochy is a valley situated that is world famous among the geography, geomorphology and geology communities in the world. It also takes a signicant place in the history of Science. The name of this valley is Glen Roy and it derives its fame from a geologic phenomenon that is known as the “Parallel Roads”. Today it is one of the lesser known Natural Nature Reserves in Scotland because of its relative isolation and poor access, but in the past it has been a battle ground between conservationists and foresters. This short essay charts its importance and why it became a source of conflict during the 1950s. Continue reading

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