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Geographical and Cultural Regions


A JOINT discussion between members of o Section E (Geography) and Section H (Anthropology) was held at the British Association meeting at Nottingham on the subject of geographical and cultural regions. The primary object was to clarify the concepts of regional divisions of the earth's surface from various points of view. A large measure of agreement on the fundamental principles of regional division from the point of view of the geographer was revealed. Its essential object is to distinguish different environments, and there was no divergence from the view that the most permanent contrasts, and those most important in relation to human life, are determined by natural factors (position, physical features, structure, climate, soils and vegetation). The total complex of conditions characterizing the personality of any such 'environment region' is, however, in practically every case profoundly modified by man, who must himself be included as one of the-creative factors. Entirely 'natural' regions are now comparatively rare; for example, it was pointed out that very little of the tropical forest of Africa is in a true sense primitive. Subject to this qualification, the concept of major natural regions, as worked out at the beginning of the century by Prof. Herbertson of Oxford, is of great and lasting value.


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ROXBY, P. Geographical and Cultural Regions. Nature 140, 605–606 (1937).

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