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  • 1
    ISSN: 1572-9915
    Keywords: RISK ; DIVERSIFICATION ; GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM ; SOUTHWESTERN PREHISTORY ; POPULATION PRESSURE
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Ethnic Sciences
    Notes: Abstract Diversification in agricultural techniques is a common strategy of risk minimization in nonindustrial societies. However, attribution of suboptimal behavior to risk minimization without consideration of the structure of risk and its environmental context obscures the complexity of agricultural decision-making. The productive potential of a prehistoric agricultural system that includes floodwater and dry farming and stream irrigation is modeled using Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis to evaluate whether diversification occurred as a response to population pressure or as a risk buffering strategy. The estimated productive potential of floodwater and irrigation farming is sufficient to have supported the estimated local population, suggesting that risk buffering is a more likely explanation. Floodwater farming and stream irrigation form a dual strategy that is effective at reducing risk. However, the potential of dry farming for subsistence production is insufficient for buffering more than a 2% productive shortfall. We propose that, within this generally risk-averse economy, dry farming was oriented toward the production of nonsubsistence crops such as cotton.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1572-9915
    Keywords: AGRO-ECOLOGY ; DEVELOPMENT ; KARAKORAM ; PAKISTAN ; RISK
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Ethnic Sciences
    Notes: Abstract Despite emerging appreciations of contextual knowledge systems, elements of diversity in mountain farming systems are often characterized as irrational and as obstacles to achieving the production goals of 'modernized' agriculture. In this paper, I suggest that these negative representations are produced at least in part as a function of the normalization of a large-scale agriculture as rational. A case-study of a mountain farming system in the Karakoram mountains of northern Pakistan is presented to expose a contextual rationality in relation to risk minimization and to challenge characterizations of this system as 'backward,' unsophisticated and irrational. Specifically I examine the risk mediating characteristics of practices such as field dispersal, delayed planting, intercropping, and polyvarietal planting and conclude that the characteristic feature of this local farming system is a contextually rational diversity. This conflicts with the modernist paradigm of rationality and economic growth subscribed to by a local development agency. Intervention based on ill-informed interpretations of “traditional” practice have the potential to increase vulnerability of villagers by failing to appreciate the contextual rationality of diversity.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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