Agriculture in the Pacific

  • William C. Clarke
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8986

The environments where traditional agriculture was practiced in the Pacific Islands ranged from frost‐prone but gardened mountain slopes at 8,500 ft (2,600 m) in Papua New Guinea to tiny atoll islets lying scarcely above the reach of the waves in the always warm equatorial ocean. Heavy downpours almost everyday keep some places in the Pacific Islands permanently humid; short wet seasons followed by long dry spells characterize the rainfall in other places. Still others with almost no rainfall are true deserts. Some single islands contain this whole range – the big island of Hawaii, with its high, massive volcanoes and its sharply contrasting windward and leeward coasts, is a notable example of such climatic variety. A comparable dissimilarity exists in Pacific Island soils, with some young volcanic soils being highly fertile, whereas on atoll islets the only natural soil material may be rough coral rubble, which is alkaline, has a very low water‐holding capacity, contains little...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Barrau, Jacques. Subsistence Agriculture in Melanesia. Bulletin no. 219. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1958.Google Scholar
  2. Barrau, Jacques. Subsistence Agriculture in Polynesia and Micronesia. Bulletin no. 223. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1961.Google Scholar
  3. Bellwood, Peter. Man's Conquest of the Pacific: The Prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania. Auckland: Collins, 1978.Google Scholar
  4. Kirch, Patrick V. Feathered Gods and Fishhooks: An Introduction to Hawaiian Archaeology and Prehistory. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  5. Kirch, Patrick V. Polynesian Agricultural Systems. Islands, Plants, and Polynesians: An Introduction to Polynesian Ethnobotany. Eds. Paul Alan Cox, and Sandra Anne Banack. Portland, Oregon: Dioscorides Press, 1991. 113–33.Google Scholar
  6. Klee, Gary A. Oceania. World Systems of Traditional Resource Management. Ed. Gary A. Klee. London: Edward Arnold, 1980. 245–81.Google Scholar
  7. Malinowski, B. Coral Gardens and Their Magic. 2 vols. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1935.Google Scholar
  8. Myllyntaus, Timo, Minna Hares, and Jan Kunnas. Sustainability in Danger? Slash‐and‐Burn Cultivation in Nineteenth‐Century Finland and Twentieth‐Century Southeast Asia. Environmental History 7 (2002): 267–302.Google Scholar
  9. Oliver, D. Oceania: The Native Cultures of Australia and the Pacific Islands. 2 vols. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  10. Yen, D. E. Polynesian Cultigens and Cultivars: The Question of Origin. Islands, Plants, and Polynesians: An Introduction to Polynesian Ethnobotany. Eds. Paul Alan Cox, and Sandra Anne Banack. Portland, Oregon: Dioscorides Press, 1991. 67–95.Google Scholar
  11. Yen, D. E. and Mummery, J. M. J., ed. Pacific Production Systems: Approaches to Economic Prehistory. Canberra: Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University, 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Clarke

There are no affiliations available