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East of the Cape. Conserving Eden

East of the Cape. Conserving Eden

The story of East of the Cape Conserving Eden is one about nature and people in a region located on the south-eastern coast of South Africa.
Cowling, Richard; Pierce, Shirley M.

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Title: East of the Cape
Subtitle: Conserving Eden
Author: Richard Cowling; Shirley M. Pierce
Publisher: Fernwood Press
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9781874950844 / ISBN 978-1-874950-84-4
Hardcover, dustjacket, 24x31cm, 168 pages, throughout photos and illustrations


The story of East of the Cape: Conserving Eden is one about nature and people in a region located on the south-eastern coast of Africa where nature’s diversity is manifest: rainforest, Karoo, fynbos, grassland and savannah are juxtaposed in complex and intriguing ways. This region is also home to thicket, a Lilliputian forest of great antiquity that harbours the ancient stock of many plant lineages found in southern Africa’s contemporary ecosystems. From some 150000 years ago to the present day, the footprint of Eden’s inhabitants has become progressively heavier. For the past 150 years, since the onset of South Africa’s industrial age, a growing population and increasing demands on nature have ravaged 'Eden', especially its thicket. But just as people have been the cause of this degradation, so too can they provide the solution.East of the Cape presenta a blueprint for conservation that seeks to engender a culture of managing natural resources wisely.

Authors of East of the Cape: Conserving Eden:

Richard Cowling is a professor in the Botany Department at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape. He has published extensively on the ecology and conservation of the fynbos, succulent karoo and subtropical thicket biomes in scientific and popular literature, and is widely acclaimed for his contribution to the theory and application of conservation science. The National Research Foundation has rated him as a world leader in the subject, and he has been awarded a Pew Fellowship (USA); a Distinguished Service Award by the Society for Conservation Biology (USA); a Gold Award for Innovating Conservation by Cape Action for People and the Environment; and a Flora Conservation Award by the Botanical Society of South Africa. He is also an Elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Richard and his wife, Shirley Pierce, live at Cape St Francis on the Kouga coast.

Shirley M. Pierce (PhD) is a Science Communication consultant based in Cape St Francis. A plant ecologist, she has extensive experience in editing scientific and popular texts. She co-authored Namaqualand: A succulent desert (Fernwood Press, 1999), co-edited Vegetation of Southern Africa (Cambridge, 1997) and Mainstreaming Biodiversity in South Africa (World Bank, 2002), and was editor of Veld & Flora in the late 1990s. Recent work covered the cultural and natural heritage of the Baviaanskloof, and currently she directs communication for a project on thicket restoration. Shirley has a particular interest in enhancing public awareness of the value of natural systems, in particular among decision makers.