Reconsidering Development Mechanisms of Tropical Agriculture: Focusing on Micro-Development in Mainland Southeast Asia
This chapter looks at everyday human behavior, agricultural development, and water use in mainland Southeast Asia and asks what kinds of mechanisms have formed in human societies that have developed in tandem with the biosphere and geosphere of the tropics. With the industrial revolution and the formation of modern nation-states, human societies acquired new technological regimes leading to the reorganization of social life on an unprecedented scale. In the twentieth century, this unleashed a great production capacity that has supported materially abundant lifestyles. Yet simultaneously, this production capacity triggered various environmental issues and subsequent measures to deal with them. Currently, the tropics are a particularly striking example of the rapid decline and loss of species diversity and the irreversible environmental degradation brought about by subsequent large-scale agricultural development. This chapter aims to show that there coexist various development approaches with different timescales and different types of care for a local geosphere and biosphere, and argues the importance of experientially fostered knowledge to be integrated with scientific knowledge to cope the diversity and complexity of the tropics in Southeast Asia.
KeywordsInput-intensive agriculture Rainfed paddy cultivation Micro-development Farm-level water management Chinese market Commercial crop Experiential knowledge
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