ETHNOBOTANY ANTH 4300
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Vivienne Schimmel on Saturday September 12, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 4300 at University of Georgia taught by Velasquez Ru in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 47 views. For similar materials see /class/202344/anth-4300-university-of-georgia in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Georgia.
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Date Created: 09/12/15
Friction An Ethnography of Global Connection Anna LoWenhaupt Tsing Princeton University Press Princeton and Oxford Copyright 2005 by Princeton University Press Published by Princeton University Press 41 William Street Princeton NeWJersey 08540 In the United Kingdom Princeton University Press 3 Market Place Woodstock Oxfordshire OX20 le All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Tsing Anna Lowenhaupt Friction an ethnography of global connection Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing cm Includes bibliographical references and index ISBN 069112064 1 alk paper V ISBN 0691 12065 X pbk alk paper 1 Intercultural communication 2 International economic relations 3 International relations 4 Ethnology 5 Globalization I Title GN3456T75 2005 303 48 2 dc22 2004043422 British Library Catalogingin Publica on Data is available This book has been composed inJanson and Frutiger Printed on acid free paper 00 pupprincetonedu Printed in the United States of America 10987654321 f edges to explore species rich landscapes in which human livelihood main tains forests This switch in perspective does not convert the forests into pristine oldgrowth or the people into mysterious primitives they maintain their weedy hillbilly features However through the switch we can see the richness and complexity of the history of weediness as well as the limitations of categories that are imagined to be universals that travel everywhere And so I organize my description in the spaces these categories make unimagim able that is their gaps The challenge in making this naturalsocial land scape come to life on paper is to give the nonhuman species as much liveli ness as the humans As in the poem with which I began I do my best to offer sounds and words to forest creatures I use the ethnographic present to honor the long timescale in which this landscape was assembled and in the hope that as I write today it has not been totally dismantled by the frontier making dynamics I came to know in other Meratus areas in the 1990s Inside the Gap betWeeh ultivated and Wild It is fruit season dry spell after the heavy monsoon rains has stimulated owering and the fruits have come in luscious and plentiful Turn their names over in your mouth durian lahung langsat rambutan maritam buku buku rambai manggu tiwadak kulidang When the fruits ripen en masse we can eat as much as we want The fruits we picked this morning are in a basket at the front of the house where passing visitors seeing us through the door can come up to share them with us In fruit season everyone is generous with fruits please take some homeBut before that we can sit and chat and refresh ourselves with fruit And as we eat we throw the seeds out the door into the brush sur rounding the isolated house The seeds of many tropical fruits sprout best when allowed to grow im mediately The temperate plants that probably come to mind for most of my readers apples peaches require a dormancy period a winter perhaps be fore they will sprout and grow Not so for many tropical fruits If you keep the seeds for more than a few days before sprouting them they will die But seeds thrown out the door of the house often sprout and grow A year or two later the household will have moved on The bamboo and thatch and bark of the house decay quickly If the houseposts are made of sungkai Peronema canescem they may have sprouted and become new quick growing secondary forest trees Within a few years it would be hard for a stranger to know that a house had been there Yet there is a grove 0f fruit trees gathered together near this spot These are the trees we planted by throwing their seeds out the door The faster growing smaller species 76 Chapter Five will begin to bear fruit in ve or six years In those same years what once was a swidden eld around the house will have become a shady young forest with trees the diameter of one s arm The fruits Whose seeds we deposited will be growmg amidst a large variety of self propagating herbs and trees The fruit trees will mature as part of a forest And while many of my temperate climate readers may have passed a few apple trees in regrowing temperate forest and imagined an old homestead few have experienced a landscape in which all the fruits one enjoys planted or self propagating are an integral part of the forest There are no dedicated orchards in the ceniral Meratus Mountains all fruit trees there must be able to survive in the forest whether the species evolved in this area or was transported from elsewhere and whether the individual was planted or grew Without human intervention The image of casually propagated fruit trees in the forest opens a way to explore a landscape in which an important number of plants fall between fa miliar categories of cultivated and Wild These categories are the start ing line for all of us who care about biodiversity protection Since we lmow best the landscape of capitalist agriculture it makes perfect sense to draw a hard line between the domestic or cultivated whose populations rise and fall depending on the market and the Wild so often casually destroyed without regard to future populations Humans are already responsible for domestic populations In contrast environmental movements and environmental sci ence have formed over concerns about wild things and we think of these as the biodiversity we hope to protect Yet what of landscapes in which sig ni cant numbers of organisms are neither properly domestic and cultivated nor wild and independent from human nurture and propagation Might these require new approaches to biodiversity conservation And indeed to conceptualizing nature in a global perspective Anthropologists who are asked about these kinds of questions usually turn rst to the ideas of the inhabitants Do Meratus Dayaks have categories of cultivated and wild they inquire This is an important question for the nonhumans as well as the humans because humans so often organize their 1nterspec1es practices in relation to their cultural categories So let me begin here Meratus distinguish between planted plants Mi1477mm and plants that grow themselves tumbuy m umng I ve followed the Meratus idiom above to speak of selfpropagating herbs and trees although nonhuman umals Wind and other agents may be required to propagate these plants at It seems a useful enough way to distinguish the humanplanted and the merely human encountered herb or tree a The Meratus distinction does not however distinguish between species S unlform blocks The 1nd1v1duals of many species may either be planted or y u ST W themselves the distinction describes the practice not the species char A History of Weediness 177 acteristic Different forms of planting are recognized ranging from the de liberate burying of seeds to the more casual sprouting of a rubbish heap Furthermore there are many human practices other than planting that are recognized as encouraging particular plants Some self propagating plants such as rattans and wild gingers do well sprOuting in the light gap of a swid den Some such as bamboos are not destroyed by swidden making and ourish with new advantage in the regrowing forest Others such as honey bee friendly trees are saved when swiddens are cleared Choking weeds vines and parasites are removed around some trees to maintain them Mer atus recognize this continuum of human practices involved in encouraging plant growth While this attention to speci c practices rather than species classes does not solve the problem of conservation in the Meratus Moun tains it is a good beginning for opening up preconceived frameworks to in vestigate forms of interaction between humans and plants Let me return to fruits City people expect a wide variety of fruits gen erated from importing fruits from around the world and by creating new Va riety through breeding There are additional sources of variety in the central Meratus Mountains The forest of the Meratus Mountains is biologically di verse Borneo is a center of tropical fruit diversity Most fruits that are even partially cultivated have close cousins within theuBornean forest This vari ety is much enjoyed by humans and other animals Like orangutans civets wild pigs and bats humans have become one of the ways fruit treeS in all their variety disnibute their seeds Fruit tree biodiversity is maintained in part by those humanfruit tree interactions that fall somewhere in the gap between cultivation and the wild The most famous fruit of the Bornean rainforest is the durian The ripe fruit is green and spikey and as large as an American football inside the thick skin are the foul and ne smelling custardy seed coverings that comprise the valued fruit The naturalist Alfred Wallace 1962 5 7 wrote Its consistence and avour are undescribable A rich butterlike custard highly avoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it but intermingled with it come wafts of avour that call to mind creamcheese onion sauce brown sherry and other incongruities In the Meratus Mountains only fruits still hanging on the tree are the exclusive property of tree claimants While unripe durian makes a wonderful cooked dish and tree claimants may harvest it it is the open competition for ripe fallen fruits that captures the most attention in durian season Teenagers hike through the forest in the middle of the night to search under good trees at dawn s rst light They bring home baskets of newly fallen durian and pass them around for a drunkenly rich breakfast Durian is thought to have evolved in Borneo certainly it ourishes in the forest there In a good fruit season one can see dozens of durian seedlings 398 Chapter Five Owing up all around a tree where the sated eaters human or nonhuman have discarded the seeds Not many of them survive in that deep shade but others transported elsewhere may have a better chance That includes those that are carefully planted and tended It also includes those that grow from refuse heaps and casual droppings Durian is such a well loved fruit that most trees in the Meratus Mountains are claimed Those who plant a tree and their descendants claim it7 Those who nd a selfseeding tree and watch and nurture it can also claim it Trees can also become unclaimed usually when the claimants leave the area and stop paying enough attention to the tree to know its uneven fruiting sched ule In this state another person can claim the tree or neighbors who know andwatch it may share its fruits It would be rare to kill a durian tree in swidden making the person who killed one would have to pay a large ne to the tree s claimants Through a combination of distributing planting tend ing and saving trees Meratus increase the durian population of the forest8 Durian has a host of close relatives that are also valued for their fruit The best to me is cl71mg a deep red long spiked globe that resembles a giant sea urchin Lahung is somewhat less commonly planted than durian but it is a valued fruit tree of the forest and thus commonly claimed protected and carefully watched for its fruiting schedule In contrast pampakz39n whose brightorange and intensely sweet arils remind me of the icing of Halloween cupcakes is a cultivate It is considered a new durian species for the area On the other side of the continuum the small fruited durians such as bird s lahung laJung bumng are rarely purposefully planted although they may be gathered when encountered in a hike in the forest Durian relatives run a full gamut of cultivatedto wild options Mangos are another diverse group of fruits in the Meratus forest They range from the sour hamlmwzmg rarely deliberately planted but much en joyed as a trailside snack to the strongly scented binjaz39 mainly known as a planted and tended tree There are tiny mangos watlWlwd and huge ones lewim and they can be bitingly sour tandoz or intensely sweet binjai and kwini are the sweetest but with completely different tastes Their diversity IS appreciated by Meratus who enjoy the opportunity to savor their scents and avors Similarly the diversity of litchi like Nepbelium fruits is much appreciated and encouraged The red hairy mmlmtzm grown in many parts of Southeast Asia is planted and enjoyed but alongside its many rela tives the subtler smaller buku buku the juicy sz39wau the smoothskinned Ting it the biting maritam I thought of its taste as somewhere between a pmeapple and a raspberry the tiny oblong jawjam and many more Peo ple look forward to these fruits learn where they grow unnoticed in the Woods claim them watch their ripening schedules harvest them in great A History of Weediness 179 0 Chapter Five quantities and plant them sometimes casually in refuse heaps and some times purposefully in the swidden or by the house In the gap between cul u39vated and wild they ourish One of the most important and most diverse groups of fruits of the Mer atus forest is the Artomrpm group whose best known representatives in the Englishspeaking world are jackfruit and breadfruit Jackfruit gktl and breadfruit tntun are known in the Meratus Mountains in cultivation but both are rather unimportant A more relevant species is ramp A elastica a great forest tree only rarely deliberately planted because it is rarely in short supply The bark can be used for cloth the sticky milky sap is used for bird lime and the sweet yellow seed coverings of the ball like fruits are eaten both raw as a snack and cooked as a side dish with rice Yet tarap is far from the onlyA ocarpm of the Meratus forest I remember bintzmmg and kulz39dang particularly clearly because we ate a lot of them one season when I was liv ing with a family for whom rice supplies were low we gathered baskets of the immature forest fruits and cooked them for lunch and dinner We also ate them ripe These fruits are plentiful enough in the forest and thus rarely deliberately planted Other A omrpu are planted such as mandala A cham peden whOse sweet arils sit in a long drooping fruit The variety of Artomr pus fruits spans and confuses the distinction between cultivate and wild The range of human nonhuman interactions that occupy the gap be tween domesticated and wild is also relevant to animals Consider pigs Mer atus households sometimes keep a pig In the central mountains it is un likely that the pig will be kept in an enclosure Instead the pig is set out in an old swidden eld in the process of regrowing into forest The foraging in the old swidden eld is good There may be sweet potatoes cassava taro bananas and papayas sugar cane and eggplants and there are certainly the tender weeds and herbs of the regrowing forest Meratus told me that the pig is unlikely to stray far from this good foraging which compares favor ably from a pig s perspective to the more open big forest with its sparse un dergrowth When they need the pig they told me they go to the old swid den and nd it Meanwhile the chances of the pig coming into contact with migrating bearded pigs are good especially since wild pigs too are drawn to old swiddens People say that the pigs cross breed I am unclear what bio logical differences separate human raised pigs and forest pigs in the Mera tus Mountains In any case the rearing of the human raised pigs involves rearing piglets enough to bond them to people and then setting them out 111 good forage If one ignores the fact that the pigs end up as food the rela tionship does not seem that different than that between people and then pet hornbills who fed and coddled as babies come back to visit their old Own ers between ights across the forest A more environmentally signi cant relationship of semi domestication with an animal connects Meratus and giant honey bees Apis dormm Mera tus call this migratory bee indu wanyi and they rely on it as a source of honey and beeswax Like European honey bees indu wanyi build a honey lled Wax comb Unlike their European cousins they do not nest inside a closed space instead they hang their combs in a well lighted space under a high tree branch Unlike European honey bees they need light to guide each other to foraging spots and this is why they prefer open places In the Mer atus forest this means that they build on the branches of the tallest forest gees those We call emergent to mark the way they tower above the next level of the rainforest canopy The building of combs does not as far as I can tell39damage the tree in any way But these trees are often covered with vines and epiphytes and their architecturally best branches may be blocked by competing smaller growth Meratus prepare potential honey trees Zinnia for the bees cleaning off competing vegetation The migratory bees come back again and again in season to the prepared trees Meratus say that bees will not come back to a tree that has not been cared for Meratus know which trees make good honey trees Mangarix Koompasszkz excelm is the tallest tree of the Bornean rainforest recorded to grow over 260 feet it is also the most popular of all trees for the bees and in many other Dayak languages across Borneo is lmown by the local word for honey tree Mangaris often host more than fty colonies in a good bee season Binuang Odomeles sumamzm another huge tree whose circumference may exceed mangaris is also a good honey tree So are a number of kinds of damar the dipterocarps that dominate the Bornean rainforest Other honey trees of the central mountains include alarm another dipterocarp mlzmg ai tampuruyung pulayz39 Alstom39a sp mampiring A gar9139s 411m jalamu 1mm wilas Ficus sp and occasionally lua Ficus sp kupzmg mijalungan kami Pometz39a pinnam tikm jalanut rimumm and anglzzi Damar salang ai and jalamu trees often have as many as forty colonies Binuang and hara wilas may invite fteen to twenty colonies Most of the other trees are less good sites attracting perhaps only three to five colonies at any one time Meratus claim prepare and protect these trees In a few cases eg the fast growing binuang they plant them in old swiddens Most commonly a man claims a tree by being the rst to clean it or if the tree has been aban doned by other claimants by reviving its cleaning He passes this claim to his children as long as they are active in maintaining the tree as a honey tree Most women do not climb and clean honey trees the principal claimants are men Sisters retain rights to honey A three species relationship is set up among bees honey trees and people People encourage comb building by preparing the trees They save the honey trees from being cut in swidden A History of Weediness 181
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