Most of the scholarship on colonial environmental policies in Africa focuses on how African communities were cast as culprits for environmental problems that plagued rural Africa. This interpretation overlooks ways in which colonial policies led to problems such as land degradation. This article demonstrates how exigencies of the Second World War elicited British colonial agricultural and labor policies amongst the Abaluyia community in western Kenya that exacerbated soil erosion. The analysis contributes to our understanding of how colonial economic policies and international crises contributed to the evolution of the colonial degradation narrative within the British Empire, and Africa in particular.

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