Centre for World Environmental History


The project applies an integrated, interdisciplinary approach in all aspects of operation, from specific research question formulation through data collection to interpretation. This is accomplished by a team representing a range of academic disciplines working in close collaboration, teaching each other, and then using together relevant research tools, techniques, and approaches from different disciplines. There are 6 major areas of activity: Botanical Survey, Geographical Analysis, Community Mapping, Oral History, Archival History, Document and Literature Review. The project's Principal Investigator, Dr. Donald C. Funnell, Director, Centre for Culture, Environment and Development, working with Evelyn Dodds, manager of the Geography Resource Centre, University of Sussex and Jonathan Douch, postgraduate student at the University of Sussex will provide geographical perspectives and construct a series of overlay maps and data sets using Google Earth as a base. These are being carried out in relation to 4 research sites: Thaba Phatšoa, ha Rakoro, ha Ralejoe and Tsikoane.

To connect the research process with local residents, houses are hired in communities near the woodlots to accommodate research assistants and, as appropriate, food is bought locally, and donkeys are hired to transport soil samples. This serves to put the young researcher assistants in a social context that ensures their physical safety as well as stimulating informal conversation about trees and tree planting.