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The Nature and Culture of RattanReflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia$
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Stephen F. Siebert

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835361

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835361.001.0001

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Rattan and a Changing World

Rattan and a Changing World

(p.1) Chapter 1 Rattan and a Changing World
The Nature and Culture of Rattan

Stephen F. Siebert

University of Hawai'i Press

This book examines the use, biology, and culture of rattan in Southeast Asia by drawing on the knowledge, practices, and lives of cane collectors and artisans in three villages: San Vicente in Leyte, Philippines (1983–1984); Sungai Tutung in Sumatra, Indonesia (1987–1991); and Moa in Sulawesi, Indonesia (1992–2000). Imminent biological and cultural loss can be gleaned from the stories of these rattan collectors and forest farmers and the profound transformation of rattan resources, forest communities, and the tropical forest itself over the past several decades. The book considers rattan's important biological attributes as well as its ecological role and significance in tropical forests, its major uses over the ages, and its role in contemporary household and village economies. It does not only tell the story of the disappearance of rattan resources and of the societies that flourished by utilizing and managing rattan; it also reflects on the potential of rattan, forest communities, and tropical forests to continue to materially and culturally enrich humanity in the future.

Keywords:   biology, culture, rattan, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, biological loss, cultural loss, forest communities, tropical forests

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