Edward Percy Stebbing

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Cover of 1911 book

Edward Percy Stebbing FRSE FRGS FZS (4 January 1872 – 21 March 1960) was a pioneering English forester and forest entomologist in India. He was among the first to warn of desertification and desiccation and wrote on "The encroaching Sahara".

In 1935, he wrote of the "desert whose power is incalculable and whose silent and almost invisible approach must be difficult to estimate." He suggested that this was man-made and this led to a joint Anglo-French forestry mission from December 1936 to February 1937 that toured northern Nigeria and Niger to assess the danger of desertification.[1]

Book cover drawn by Stebbing


He was born in London on 4 January 1872 the second son of Edward Charles Stebbing (b.1839). He was educated at St Paul's School, London. He then studied at the Royal Engineering College and Coopers Hill College (which specialised in training for the Indian Civil Service). He then studied at the University of Edinburgh and graduated MA.

From 1900 to 1910 he worked as Forest Entomologist and Zoologist for the Indian Civil Service.

In 1910 he returned to the University of Edinburgh as Professor of Forestry. He lived at 13 Wolseley Place, Edinburgh with his brother.[2]

In the First World War he was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps.[3]

In 1923 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir Edmund Taylor Whittaker, Ralph Allan Sampson, Arthur Crichton Mitchell and James Hartley Ashworth.[4]

He retired in 1951 and died on 21 March 1960.


In 1907 he married Maude Evelyn Brown (d.1950).


A hunting trophy
  • Injurious Insects of Indian Forests (1899) online
  • Insect intruders in Indian homes (1909) online
  • Stalks in the Himalayas (1911) (New York Times review
  • Jungle By-ways in India (1911) online
  • Indian forest insects of economic importance. Coleoptera (1914) online
  • British Forestry (1916) online
  • At the Serbian front in Macedonia (1917) online[5]
  • From Czar to Bolshevik (1918) online
  • The Forests of India (3 volumes) (1922)
  • The forests of West Africa and the Sahara: a Study of Modern Conditions (London and Edinburgh, 1937)

Botanical Reference[edit]


  1. ^ van Beusekom, Monica M (1999) From underpopulation to overpopulation. Environmental History. Apr 1999
  2. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1911
  3. ^ https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4240837
  4. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  5. ^ Stebbing, Edward Percy (1917), At the Serbian front in Macedonia, London: John Lane, OCLC 313792
  6. ^ IPNI.  Stebbing.

External links[edit]