Brett Bennett

Brett Bennett is Senior Lecturer in History in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. He is also a Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg and an Associate in the Centre for Environmental History at The Australian National University.

International Review of Environmental History: Volume 8, Issue 1, 2022 »

Edited by: James Beattie, Brett Bennett
Publication date: March 2022
This timely special issue of the International Review of Environmental History focuses on animals and epidemics in modern East Asia. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has forced us to think more deeply about the interrelations between animals, both human and non-human, and epidemics. Moreover, the intense attention on East Asia in this context demands that we study the region in the thematic matrix of health, environment, animals, sociocultural traditions, and geopolitics. This collection comprises two parts. The first part consists of three research articles and an extensive commentary. The articles examine, respectively, rabies and rabid dogs in early twentieth-century China, venomous snakes and tropical medicine in colonial Taiwan, and epidemics and animal rights movements in contemporary China. The second part includes three reflective essays on topics of immediate relevance: animals and health campaigns in Mao-era China; insects, particularly silkworms, in vaccine research; and the dominant but flawed scientific paradigm of emerging zoonotic epidemics. The essays are followed by a broad commentary that provides a global and comparative perspective.
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Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa »

History, Science and Policy

Publication date: November 2015
This innovative interdisciplinary study focuses on the history, science, and policy of tree planting and water conservation in South Africa. South Africa’s forestry sector has sat—often controversially—at the crossroads of policy and scientific debates regarding water conservation, economic development, and biodiversity protection. Bennett and Kruger show how debates about the hydrological impact of exotic tree planting in South Africa shaped the development of modern scientific ideas and state policies relating to timber plantations, water conservation, invasive species control, and biodiversity management within South Africa as well as elsewhere in the world. Forestry and Water Conservation in South Africa shows how scientific research on the impact of exotic and native vegetation led to the development of a comprehensive national policy for conserving water, producing timber, and protecting indigenous species from invasive alien plants. Policies and laws relating to forests and water began to change in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a result of political and administrative changes within South Africa. This book suggests that the country’s contemporary policies towards timber plantations, guided by the National Water Act of 1998, need to be reconsidered in light of the authors’ findings. Bennett and Kruger also call for more interdisciplinary research and greater emphasis on integrated policies and management plans for forestry, invasive alien plants, water conservation, and biodiversity preservation.
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