Human Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 361–376 | Cite as

Three hundred years of Taungya: A sustainable system of forestry in south China

  • Nicholas Menzies


Taungya is a system of forest management in which land is cleared and planted initially to food crops. Seedlings of desirable tree species are then planted on the same plot, leading in time to a harvestable stand of timber. Taungya is believed to have been developed by the British in Burma during the nineteenth century. Historical research indicates that successional systems of forest management which follow the pattern of taungya have been used for at least three centuries by ethnic minorities in and by the Han population. The resilience of these systems is associated with economic and social factors which have made the cultivation of trees an adaptive strategy of land use for the inhabitants of the highlands of southern China.

Key words

adaptation China forestry land use minorities taungya 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Menzies
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Resource ManagementUniversity of California at BerkeleyUSA

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