Michael Williams 1935–2009


in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 172, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, X

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264904
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754081 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Michael Williams 1935–2009

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Michael Williams was an historical geographer and environmental historian who received international acclaim for his work on mankind's use of the wetlands, forests and other fragile resources. Born in Wales, his first appointment was at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and then his subsequent career was in the Geography Department of the University of Oxford, based at Oriel College. Williams's book Americans and their Forests: an Historical Geography appeared in 1989 and was hugely influential in encouraging further research into deforestation. Deforesting the Earth: from Prehistory to Global Crisis, published in 2003, was considered his magnus opus. Williams was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1989. Obituary by Hugh Clout FBA.

Keywords: obituary; Michael Williams; geography; deforestation; British Academy; Hugh Clout

Chapter.  8698 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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