Into a New Epoch: Capitalist Nature in the Plantationocene

  • Noboru IshikawaEmail author
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


This chapter delineates the characteristics of impacts and changes brought by the expansion of oil palm plantations to the biomass-rich interior region of Sarawak, Malaysia. It argues that many of the changes, both social and ecological, and the combination of the two, are derived from interfaces being formed when different and often distant landscapes, peoples, institutions and networks come into contact and are abruptly juxtaposed. Such new encounters have led to the temporal compression of succession—the transplanting, mobilisation, proliferation, reduction and extirpation of fauna, flora and human communities in a relatively short time. What emerges is a mixed landscape consisting of first nature and capitalist nature, where habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss and multifaceted displacements proceed. Spatial compression brought by infrastructure development also connects the local community, both human and non-human, with distant people and markets, leading to a new kind of rural–urban continuum as well as the commodification of nature and labour. Along newly created commodity chains, there emerge numerous cultural encounters of individuals and social groups, adding a new social amalgam to the local community.


Sarawak Anthropocene Capitalocene Plantationocene Plantation frontier Oikoumene 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Southeast Asian StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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