This thesis concerns soil erosion and conservation in Zimbabwe. It is framed in the
light of the contemporary heightened concern for the environment generally in Africa
and the recent publication of the National Conservation Strategy for Zimbabwe (1987).
Soil erosion is an archetypal interdisciplinary problem. This thesis complements and
extends understanding of soil erosion and conservation in Zimbabwe via a
methodological approach and a scale of analysis which have been under-represented in
the literature to date. The research adopts a pluralist, regional political ecology
approach (after Blaikie and Brookfield 1987) to soil erosion and conservation in
Svosve communal area, combining political-economic understanding with case study
analysis of changing social-environmental relationships.
Plural problem definitions are constructed through interview and survey techniques,
historical analysiso f archival sourcesa nd oral testimonies,a ssessmenot f
contemporary policy and planning documents and via sequential air photograph
The researchc hallengesa spectso f the colonial conservationislti terature to date for
southernA frica andn ational level modelling of human-environmenrte lationshipsi n
Zimbabwe. It presentsa quantitativea ssessmenotf the changei n symptomso f
deterioration and in the nature and extent of soil erosion for the case study area. It
operationalisesth e concepto f multiple problem definitions with implications for the
contemporary model for conservation extension and for improving the role of local
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.