Ben Fanstone

Institutional Representative Board Member, University of Stirling


My AHRC funded PhD is entitled “The pursuit of the ‘good forest’ in colonial Kenya”, and investigates the development of the colonial forestry department in Kenya in terms of how it related to the other sections of the colonial administration and how its twin goals of forest conservation and sustainable timber harvesting were met, or not, in the face of competing demands for agricultural land both from indigenous Africans and the white settler community. Based on archival fieldwork in the UK and Kenya, as well as oral histories from past colonial personnel, this research will yield new insight into whether scientific forestry was truly a coherent ideology that guided colonial forest control or whether it was merely a theoretical ideal that bore little resemblance to the reality of colonial forestry. The history of state forestry in Kenya also allows further exploration within the theme of the growth and evolution of scientific doctrines of development and how these were placed within and competed with other elements of colonialism. (Supervisory Team: Dr Phia Steyn and Dr Paul Adderley)


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