Green Colonialism in Zimbabwe, 1890-1980

Vimbai Kwashirai



This book examines the debates and processes on woodland exploitation in Zimbabwe during the colonial era (1890-1960). It explores the social, economic, and political contexts of perceptions on woodland distribution and management. Much of the period was characterized by both local and global debates about environmental problems, generating in their wake politically charged and emotive language about the consequences--deforestation, soil erosion, and threats to wildlife. This study analyses the history of exploitation and conservation of the Zimbabwean teak (mkusi or Baikiea plurijuga) and its associated species in Northwestern Matabeleland from 1890 to 1960. Timber exploitation was among the top three colonial economic activities in Matabeleland, including ranching and tobacco cultivation.


This book provides a rich example of Green Imperialism along the lines of Richard Grove, but goes beyond that by giving an economic historical account that situates conservation history within the broader political-economic context.


Vimbai Kwashirai is a Zimbabwean and Oxonian scholar. His research interests are in economic and environmental issues, specifically in modern Zimbabwe, and Africa more generally.