chapter  8
39 Pages

Settlement Structure and Landscape Ecology in Humid Tropical Rwanda

WithRobert E. Ford

This chapter explores the applicability of the Rwandan case to theoretical ideas and practice in respect to settlement structure, population dynamics, resource management, and sustainable development in the region. It provides clearer understanding of the fundamental ecological, historical-political, and demographic forces that have shaped settlement processes in pre-colonial, colonial, and post-independence Rwanda. The accessibility model of mountain development proposed by Nigel J. R. Allan and particularly by David Guillet is one attempt to better integrate human and environmental/ecological processes in one model. Rwanda is an excellent case for observing and testing diverse ideas and theories concerning nature-society relationships and sustainable development in humid tropical montane agroecosystems. An eclectic approach helps achieve a more “con- textualized” view of human-environment relations in Rwanda. Cambrezy has described post World War II population changes as an “in situ densification of the landscape.”