1920’s Kenya– “CLEAR-CUTTING THE FORESTS”
When a modern city grows and develops, fuel is needed. This blog has already looked at the problems that Kenya Colony in general and Nairobi in particular faced when the demand for petrol far exceeded the incoming supply. Nairobi’s electricity was hydroelectric and the city was also looking beyond to other falls in the vicinity. But the steam train ran on wood and most homes relied on wood for cooking fuel.
Most of the forests were controlled by “big timber concessions” who hired African tribesmen to cut and haul the wood to be sold in town. Very little replanting took place and this became a cause for concern in 1921. An extensive article written under the name “Shambaite” appeared in The East African Standard, March 21, 1921 warning of the dangers of clear-cutting the Mau Escarpment (near the rift valley) and Mount Elgon. “The rich topsoil full of leaf mould and humus kept moist by copious showers, whose moisture was retained by the protection afforded by the trees from the burning rays of the sun, has been carried away, by tons . . . into the rivers.”
The author continued to caution “One does not obtain smoke without fire, and to obtain a rich and ample rainfall we must have an ample conservation of the moisture that has been shed on the earth as well as big local evaporation. Where forests and bush obtain the rain (it) slowly soaks into the soil, which is able to retain a measure of moisture from day to day.”
These are lessons that still need to be taken to heart today.
Quotes and headline taken from The East African Standard March 21, 1921. Photo from The Leader of British East Africa, January 1, 1921
By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”
And Mark of the Lion is now available in the U.K. via Piatkus Books. Stalking Ivory and The Serpent’s Daughter will soon follow.
Next week: More Nairobi news:
1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at http://bit.ly/cpprpx
2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.
3) CAN’T GET TO ONE OF MY BOOK EVENTS? YOU CAN SEE PART OF ONE HERE courtesy of Mr. Patrick Balester. http://bit.ly/a5wNIn
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah and THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda and on facebook to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Arruda-Mystery-Writer/165784103431688?ref=ts
This blog made the short list for Best Author's Blog as awarded by www.completelynovel.com Thank you everyone who voted for me.