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Savannas of Our Birth

People, Wildlife, and Change in East Africa

Robin Reid


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This book tells the sweeping story of the role that East African savannas played in human evolution, how people, livestock, and wildlife interact in the region today, and how these relationships might shift as the climate warms, the world globalizes, and human populations grow.

Our ancient human ancestors were nurtured by African savannas, which today support pastoral peoples and the last remnants of great Pleistocene herds of large mammals. Why has this wildlife thrived best where they live side-by-side with humans? Ecologist Robin S. Reid delves into the evidence to find that herding is often compatible with wildlife, and that pastoral land use sometimes enriches savanna landscapes and encourages biodiversity. Her balanced, scientific, and accessible examination of the current state of the relationships among the region’s wildlife and people holds critical lessons for the future of conservation around the world.

Praise For Savannas of Our Birth: People, Wildlife, and Change in East Africa

"A tremendous amount of personal experience and research has gone into this book..."

— Ian Martin

"Refreshing -- perhaps even inspiring . . . Reid's inclusive analysis is one of the most comprehensive and well-balanced examinations of human-environment interactions in African savanna ecosystems . . . an exceptional project."

— Eric J. Lovell and Mara J. Goldman

University of California Press, 9780520273559, 416pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

About the Author

Robin S. Reid is Director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation and Senior Research Scientist in the Natural Resources Ecology Lab at Colorado State University.