The origins of subsistence agriculture in Oceania and the potentials for future tropical food crops

  • Yen D
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Abstract

Subsistencea griculturei n the Pacific Islands has a complex prehistory centered on western Melanesia. Based on an analysis of cultigenp rovenience,a sequentialm odel of a three-tieredc rop structureo f indigenousa griculturals ystems has been derived:( 1) The independente arly domesticationo f endemics pecies in the New Guinea region; (2) introduction of species from Southeast Asia; (3) the advent of Americanc ropp lants. The temporals equenceh as archaeologicala nd linguisticc onfirmationo f 10 000 years agof or the beginningso f agriculture6, 000 yearsf or SoutheastA sian introduction, with the sweet potato contributingi n Polynesia in prehistory,a nd in Melanesia only in post- Columbian times. Recent research directed toward issues of domestication in New Guinea and subsistencep rehistoryin Australiao n threeg enera,C anariumC, olocasiaa ndlpomoea, exemplify under-recognizedre sourcesw ith quite differentp otentialsf or economicb otany. Unlikep ast exploitation of indigenousp lant resourcesf, uture users of plants such as those exemplified,a nd especially where commercialization is involved, cannot avoid addressing intellectual property rightst hat pertain to speciesd omesticateds, electedo r conservedb y peopleso f the non-industrialized world

Author-supplied keywords

  • Canarium
  • Colocasia
  • Ipomoea
  • Oceania
  • agricultural origins
  • subsistence agriculture

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Authors

  • D. E. Yen

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