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The Javanese home garden as an integrated agro-ecosystem

Otto Soemarwoto, Idjah Soemarwato, Karyono, E. M. Soekartadiredja, and A. Ramlan, Institute of Ecology, Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia


In the countryside of Java, the existence of a village is indicated by a clump of dense vegetation amidst rice fields. The houses are almost completely concealed by this vegetation; from the air the villages look like dark-green islands in a sea of light-green or yellow rice fields.

A closer look at the village reveals that the dense vegetation consists of plants in gardens surrounding the houses. This is particularly true of Central Java. In West Java the houses, surrounded by gardens, are often clustered together with hardly any open space in between. The village may also be fenced in by a hedge of bamboo or other plants.


The most widely used Indonesian term for home gardens is pekarangan. Before the Second World War the Dutch term erfcultuur was in common use in Indonesia. After the war, Terra, a well-known authority on pekarangan, used the term "mixed garden" in accordance with the suggestion of Willis, while Pelzer's term was "garden culture" [9] . Penny and Singarimbun [4] used "house-compound land," Ramsay and Wiersum [5] "home-garden," Harwood [2] "homestead area," and Stoler [8] both "mixed garden" and "house garden." We prefer to employ the term "home garden" in order to stress the close relationship between the garden and the home. For the villagers it is both a dwelling-place and a production unit. In fact it is an ecological system involving interactions between human beings, plants, animals, soil, and water.


The structure of the home garden varies from place to place and is influenced by both ecological factors, such as climate and soil, and cultural factors. According to Terra [9] the home garden was particularly well developed in Central Java and parts of East Java, though it was also found in West Java, as we ourselves have verified.

As salient feature of the Javanese home garden is the wide variety of plant species. For example, in the two adjacent sub-districts Cinangka and Padarincang in Banten, West Java, 179 plant species were found in the home gardens, including annuals and perennials of different heights ranging from ground-creepers to trees of about 25 m, as well as several climbers. Not all species were found in every garden.

The plant diversity was actually greater than that indicated by species differences, since many species were represented by several varieties - for example, varieties of banana with the local names of raja, kapok, susu, ambon, mas, and klutuk; yellow and red varieties of papaya; and yellow and green varieties of coconut. The varieties of plant species are now being inventoried.

In addition 62 weed species were found in Cinangka and Padarincang. The term "weed" should be used with extreme care, since the villagers had uses for many weeds. From a preliminary survey we found that of these 62 species, 18 were used for herbal medicine, one for roofing and fodder, four for vegetables, and almost all grass species for fodder. More in-depth studies would probably reveal that even more weed species were used by the villagers. Thus, in these villages a so-called weed may in fact be a spontaneously growing, but useful, plant species.

Not all Javanese home gardens, however, show such great diversity as those we have mentioned in West Java. In villages close to cities and at higher altitudes there is less diversity. For example, in two villages near the capital of Banten, which seem to have similar ecological conditions to those found in Cinangka and Padarincang, only about 80 planted species were found. These villages are all located at an altitude of a few metres above sea level. In Gandsoli and Karoya, also in West Java, at an altitude of about 200 metres, there were 125 planted species.

The diversity apparently lends the home garden biological stability, for even though the villagers do not use pesticides, there are seldom serious pest outbreaks.

Animals are raised by the villagers in home gardens. The poor family may have only a few chickens and the rich one a few water buffaloes or cows, while goats and sheep are owned by people at the intermediate level. Other animals commonly found are horses, ducks, rabbits, and guinea pigs, as well as pet animals such as dogs, cats, and birds.

The animals are not confined and receive only minimal feeding. The chickens run around in the garden eating leftovers from the kitchen and table, in addition to whatever they find in the garden. Buffaloes, cows, goats, and sheep are grazed on the village common land and at night given additional feed, which is cut by boys from hedge-plants growing on the dykes of rice fields, along streams, and elsewhere. Goats roaming in market-places and eating all kinds of vegetable garbage are a customary sight in villages.

In West Java, particularly in the Priangan region, fish ponds often form part of the home garden system. The fish are fed partly on kitchen waste, and the pond is also fertilized by animal and human waste, which is why the horses' stable and the bathroom toilet are built above it. The other animals' pens, however, are not built like this, although they may be located close to the fish pond; instead, their wastes are composted and used as manure in the garden and fields. Presumably for hygienic reasons, the villagers do not use the contaminated water of the fish pond; the water for the bathroom comes through bamboo pipes from higher ground


From the description given above one can see that a village with its home gardens is not merely a dwelling-place but also an important agro-ecosystem. It is an integrated unit in which the solar energy is channelled through the plants to animals and man, and matter is cycled and recycled. This cycling and recycling process, together with the layered plant cover, protects the soil of the home garden from exhaustion, leaching, and soil erosion. For instance, in the heavily eroded areas of South Solo and South Jogjakarta in Central Java, the soils of the home gardens are still in good condition and the villages look like green oases in a desert of eroded hills. For this reason it has been suggested that home gardens be used as a means of preventing soil erosion and rehabilitating eroded areas [7]. It has also been stressed that animals should be considered an integral part of the home garden system (fig. 1).

FIG. 1. The Integrated Home-Garden System in a West Javanese Village, with Cycling and Recycling of Matter. This Process is Fuelled by Solar Energy

In a study in Kutowinangun, Central Java, Ochse and Terra [3] showed that 20 per cent of the total income of the people came from the home garden, but only 8 per cent of the total income and 7 per cent of the total labour were spent there. According to McComb, as cited by Ramsay and Wiersum [5], the income from an average farm of 1.68 ha consisted of 28 per cent from home gardens, 26 per cent from dry fields, and 46 per cent from sawah (wet rice fields). Stoler [8] reported that in a village in South Central Java garden cultivation alone was the largest single source of income for the smallest landholding group, while for the largest it was half the contribution of sawah. Under certain conditions the income per hectare from home gardens may even exceed that from sawah [4, 8, 9].

At the macro-level it is difficult to assign monetary value to home-garden products, because a large part of the common vegetables produced are directly consumed without ever entering the market system; also, in many cases statistical figures do not differentiate between home gardens and dry fields, the so-called tegalan. However, figures for the production of fruit and livestock may be used as a rough indication of the importance of the home garden in the village economy, since they are almost exclusively produced in the home garden, and little is consumed by the people.

From official statistical reports of West Java for the years 1968 to 1973, the average annual value at the farm-level of fruits, fish, eggs, and cow and buffalo leather was estimated to be about US$163 million, while the average annual total value for rice was about US$277 million. Thus, even this partial list of home-garden products, exclusive of those directly consumed, had a value of about 60 per cent of that of rice.

Home gardens also play an important role in the nutrition of the people who cultivate them. Ochse and Terra [3] reported that 44 per cent of the total food calories and 32 per cent of the total proteins produced in their Java sample came from the home gardens When computed on the basis of consumption, 18 per cent of the calories and 14 per cent of the proteins were supplied by the home garden. The diversity of the food from the home garden also makes an important contribution to the quality of the diet by providing essential vitamins and minerals. In this connection an interesting finding was reported by Stoler [8]: poorer households were not consuming less but more leafy vegetables than wealthy households. One reason given for this was that the leafy vegetables - a good source of vitamins and minerals - were cheaper than other vegetables and almost always available. According to Harjadi [1], home gardens with more perennial crops produce more proteins and calories, while those with dense annual plants produce more vitamin A; the average daily intake from home gardens in a village in Lavang, East Java, was 983.4 calories, 22.8 9 proteins, 16.4 9 fats, 185.0 9 carbohydrates, 381.4 mg Ca, 555.0 mg P2O5, 14.4 mg Fe, 8,632 IU vitamin A, 1,181.2 mg vitamin B. and 305 mg vitamin C.

Supplemented by wood from forests, home-garden plants are also an important source of building materials and firewood.

A great economic advantage of the home garden is that villagers can harvest something daily for their own consumption, for sale in the market or for raw materials for their home industry. Because of the climatic conditions of Java, annual plants can be grown all year round in almost every part of the island, even in the drier parts of East Java. In the dry season plants are usually grown near wells, fish ponds or open sewage ditches. Leaves of some perennials, e.g. melinjo (Gnetum gnemon), are always available. Some perennials flower and bear fruit throughout the year; these include coconut, banana, saiak (Salacca edulis) and jackfruit. Others have definite flowering and fruiting seasons, but differ from each other. For example, the flowering season of jambu Semarang (Eugenia javanica) is from April to June, of mangoes from July to August, of durians (Durio zitbethinus) from June to September, of mandarins from September to December, and of duku (Lansium domesticum) from December to January, and the corresponding fruiting season is a few months thereafter [3] . Therefore fruit of some kind is available throughout the year. Likewise, the products of livestock are available throughout the year.

For poor people with little cash, this year-round availability of food, building materials, firewood and sources of income is crucial to economic stability, particularly in the time between rice harvests, the so-called paceklik season.


Although the home garden has many important roles in village life, it has not attracted the attention of agriculturists, economists, and sociologists. As a result, an understanding of its structure and functioning and its role in the village economy is still fragmentary. Reliable quantitative data are lacking, and many people do not appreciate its importance because of ignorance. The home garden is threatened on the one hand by misguided development and on the other by lack of development.

In an effort to modernize the village, for example, the bathroom toilet above the fish pond was considered inappropriate and unaesthetic, and was replaced by indoor toilets. The result was that human waste was not recycled; it was flushed into streams and contributed to the eutrophication of surface waters and the growth of aquatic weeds and algae. Thus, valuable protein from fish was lost or decreased in yield.

In another case the home garden was considered haphazard, and efforts were made to regulate the plantings with the intention of making the garden look nicer and of increasing yields. This alteration resulted in a reduction of the density and diversity and the loss of the layered pattern. Consequently, disease and pests became more prevalent, particularly among plants with a market value which had become the dominant form of planting. Special efforts also had to be made to control weeds, and the risk of soil erosion increased.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the home garden is the encroachment of cities onto the rural areas. The growth of Jakarta, for example, has already destroyed many hectares of home gardens with valuable fruit trees.

Since home gardens are still undeveloped, the potential for increasing their production and economic value is still great. But their development should be carried out with care and with a full appreciation of the ecological principles underlying their existence, including the socio-economic aspects. Many of the plants and animals can still be improved by selection from the local varieties, followed later by a hybridization programme. In this respect the high diversity of the home garden provides a rich genetic resource.

Since the villagers are poor and the unemployment rate is high, there is a need for simple labour-intensive technologies. But even these technologies could displace people and disrupt the social structure of income distribution [6]. The introduction of plants which in theory give high economic returns could be disastrous under certain conditions: if it increased the need for capital investment, such as for the purchase of expensive seedlings, fertilizers, and pesticides, and disrupted the daily income and food supply, people could be driven into the hands of moneylenders. Marketable plants would also have the disadvantage of being sensitive to fluctuation in market demands and prices. Therefore, in the development process it is essential that the introduction of marketable plants in home gardens should not eliminate those plants and animals that are essential to the subsistence of the people. The diversity of the typical home garden must be maintained, because this diversity is important for its stability, for assuring the villagers an adequate food supply, and for reducing the need for energy subsidies. Consequently, the technologies needed to improve the living standards of the people should be geared to an ecosystem of high diversity and not to that of a monoculture. It is also essential to develop an effective credit system in order to prevent the villagers from becoming the victims of moneylenders.

The crucial factor for development is, of course, educating the people to enhance their technical and managerial skills as well as their general knowledge.


The authors wish to thank Professor Dr. Modh. Halim Khan for correcting the English in this article.


1. M. M, Sri Setyati Harjadi, "Potential Contribution of Home-Gardening to Nutrition Intervention Program in Indonesia," Seminar on Food and Nutrition, Jogjakarta, mimeo (1975).

2. R. R. Harwood, personal communication, 1975.

3. J. J. Ochse and G. J. A. Terra, "Het economisch aspect van her 'Koetowinangun-Repport'," Landbouw, 13: 54 (1937).

4. D. H. Penny and M. Singarimbun, Population and Poverty in Rural Java: Some Economic Arithmetic from Sriharjo (Department of Agricultural Economics, New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ithaca, N.Y., 1973).

5. D. M. Ramsay and K. F. Wiersum, "Problems of Watershed Management and Development in the Upper Solo River Basin," Conference on Ecologic Guidelines for Forest, Land or Water Resources, mimeo (Institute of Ecology, Bandung, 1974).

6. R. Sinaga and W. T. Collier, "Social and Regional Implications of Agricultural Development Policy," South-East Asian Agricultural Economic Association's meeting at Balikpapan, mimeo (1975).

7. O. Soemarwoto, "The Home-Garden System: An Ecological Point of View of an Integrated Approach for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Degraded Soils," Seminar on the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Degraded Soils, MS. (1975) (in Indonesian).

8. A. Stoler, "Garden Use and Household Consumption Patterns in a Javanese Village," mimeo (Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, 1975).

9. G. J. A. Terra, "De betekenis der erfcultuur in het district Garut (Residentie Priangan)," Landbouw, 8: 546 - 550 (1932/33).

10. G. J. A, Terra, "The Distribution of Mixed Gardening in Java," Landbouw, 25: 163 - 223 (1953).


The Talun-Kebun: A man-made forest fitted to family needs

Otto Soemarwato, Linda Christanty, Henky, Y. H. Herri, Johan Iskandar, Hadyana, and Prlyono, Institute of Ecology, Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia


Shifting cultivation has rightfully been called the "Cinderella of agriculture," existing at the margins of mainstream agricultural production, and receiving no official recognition and assistance [8]. Yet an estimated 250 to 500 million of the world's population living in tropical forest regions depend on this method of extracting a livelihood from a fragile ecosystem.

In contrast to field-agriculture-oriented scientists, ethnographers and ecologists have long pointed to the relative virtues and adaptability of shifting cultivation, its prehistoric existence in the Northern Hemisphere, and the ecological dangers associated with introducing maladapted agricultural systems [1, 2, 4, 5]. The high productivity of swidden techniques is seen as a reason for the continuing importance of this form of agriculture throughout the tropical regions of the modern world [3]. However, many national governments still consider that their tropical forest areas should contribute to the national cash economy through large-scale exploitation for cash crops, such as lumber, oil, rubber, and coffee, or to the national breadbasket through traditional open-field plough agriculture or ranching. Only recently have attempts been made to study contemporary systems of shifting production in order to develop appropriate technologies for a more intense, but preservationist, cultivation of tropical forest areas [6].

This article is an attempt to contribute to this new direction in controlled shifting cultivation or agro-forestry by presenting an example of a spatially confined yet well-adapted, small-scale system of forest exploitation oriented toward both subsistence and commercial production in West Java, Indonesia.


Inhabitants of the Priangan region of West Java have practiced huma or shifting cultivation since ancient times. The principal crop of huma cultivation is upland rice, and in some areas, such as Banten, so-called huma flocks stretches of forest reserved for huma cultivation - still exist. Along with shifting cultivation, sawah or wet rice production and the talun-kebun, a mixed-cropping form of forest cultivation, are found. Huma cultivation is practiced mainly in mountainous regions, on higher slopes and areas that cannot be irrigated. Sawah cultivation has traditionally been confined to lower slopes and valleys where water is available and the dangers of soil erosion are reduced.

The talun-kebun is a form of cultivation that falls between huma and sawah in terms of location, management, and production, and whose historical development is still poorly understood. According to Terra [9] the talun-kebun originates with Sundanese agriculture. it is synonymous with the Malang kebun, the dusun of Ambon and Ceram, the mamar of Timor, the porlak of Batak, and the krakal as used in Purworejo in Central Java.

The huma is believed to represent the evolutionary base both for talun-kebun and for sawah, which was introduced from Central Java towards the middle of the eighteenth century [9]. On land where sawah production was not possible, people began to select forest plants and to introduce species from other areas in order to obtain greater benefits from their land, so that gradually part of the natural forest was changed into a "man-made" forest. By planning the planting of tree and bush species, the obligatory fallow of the shifting cultivation system became a productive fallow.

The dynamics leading to the present-day talun-kebun system have not been thoroughly researched. Possibly, with the introduction of wet rice culture, the need for widely shifting cultivation was reduced or even eliminated, since rice could be supplied from the sawah. According to this hypothesis, people then started using the forest near their villages to produce crops other than rice to fulfil their family needs, which, with the advent of a monetary economy, included the need for cash. Another hypothesis explains the development of the talun-kebun system as a response to increasing population pressure following the shift to sawah production. The larger population may have restricted the movement of the shifting cultivators, who had to find an alternative way of exploiting the same land area.

According to yet another thesis, the development of the talun-kebun preceded the introduction of sawah into West Java. Increasing population pressure or cultural development may have required more intense exploitation, and cultivators attempted to increase the harvest from their shifting cultivation systems. With the introduction of a market economy, no doubt, cash incentives played an important role in trying to maximize the output of a given parcel of land.


In shifting cultivation, the cultivated field typically moves from place to place within a natural tropical forest. A small plot is cleared, the organic matter is burned, and the rice seeds are planted, usually mixed with other crops. After two or three harvests, the plot is abandoned and another piece of forest is cleared for cultivation, and so on. In traditional shifting cultivation, little material is exported. After clearing the plot, the organic matter remains to be burnt in situ. The cultivators live close to their parcels and most waste products are recycled. After a short productive period the cleared plots return to forest, and very little can be harvested during this fallow period.

The talun-kebun system of shifting cultivation, however, is practiced not in the natural forest but in a man-made one. In essence, it combines many species of perennials and annuals in multi-layered and single-layered arrangements forming an often dense canopy of vegetation which protects against soil erosion and leaching. Because it is so rich in useful plant species, the talun-kebun also serves as a natural gene bank. This kind of cultivation is multi-purpose, as it produces marketable crops as well as subsistence food and materials for other household needs.

Structurally, the talun-kebun is divided into two parts: the talun, or selected, productive fallow "forest," consists of the overhead cover of essentially long-term perennials. The kebun comprises various areas of cleared ground within the talun planted with annual crops destined mainly for market sale. Upon harvest, the kebun is allowed to grow up in perennials and returns to talun within five to eight years. Once the regenerated talun has been entirely or partly harvested, another kebun is planted. Functionally, talun and kebun are the two continuous successive stages of a mixed subsistence and cash-crop production cycle.

The talun is planted with a mixture of many species of trees but may be dominated by one species; if so, it is named after this species (e.g. talun awi for bamboo talun). A talun closely resembles a forest in structure, consisting as it does of many species of different ages and heights, but it differs markedly from a natural tropical forest in species composition: some species originate within the local forest while others are introduced from elsewhere.

Species selection in the talun-kebun enables a family to multiply the economic and nutritional benefits obtained from the same parcel of land: when the talun is harvested, larger timbers are sold for lumber while branches are used for firewood. Only leaves and other debris are burnt. This reduces the organic material incorporated into the soil upon burning, a lack which is made up by composting leaves and animal manure. The kebun is planted with a variety of vegetables that are mostly sold for cash but also supply the family's consumption needs. Meanwhile, the varied functions of the natural tropical forest ecosystem are maintained as its structure is imitated: species diversity, protection against soil erosion and leaching, and long-term maintenance of soil fertility. An intermediary stage between talun and kebun is called kebun-campuran or talun-campuran, depending upon which growth pattern dominates.


In selecting talun species, a family will attempt to meet its own subsistence needs as well as providing for marketable produce. Species are selected for annual, seasonal, or continuous harvest, with long-term objectives in mind. Rather than a simple process of cutting and burning, clearing the talun is a means of harvesting marketable lumber. Food for the household is supplied by taro (Xanthosoma spp.), yam, chill) pepper, leunca (Solanum nigrum), banana, jackfruit, and coconut. Bamboo and albizzia are used as building materials, while the small branches and dead wood serve as fuel. Bamboo and fruit can also be sold in the market.

Because of the mixed culture, the harvest is spread over the entire year. For example, banana, jackfruit, and coconut do not have distinct flowering and fruiting seasons, so they can be harvested at any time. Taro and yam can also be planted and harvested continuously. Bamboo is selected for cutting depending on need and on the sizes available in the bamboo groves. This lack of seasonality greatly enhances the economic value of the talun, as harvests can be adjusted to household cash needs. Other crops, such as duku (Lansium domesticum), coffee, kupa (Syzygium polyanthum), cloves, and citrus have distinct fruiting seasons.

Owing to the great diversity of species, the talun also contains considerable genetic resources. Many species are semi-domesticated or represented by various strains, and thus the natural gene bank is enriched through species heterogeneity.

An important aspect of talun management is the accumulation of organic refuse. Fallen leaves and harvest residues are left to rot - a factor that, together with the protective cover formed by tall growth, guards effectively against soil erosion. This function of soil-protection is crucial to the survival of the production system, as taluns usually occupy the higher and steeper slopes of the mountainous regions of West Java, while villages and wet rice fields are found on the lower slopes and in valleys.

The talun, in summary, has at least four important functions, which are important both for household survival and for ecological preservation: (i) subsistence production, (ii) commercial production (iii) gene banking, and (iv) soil conservation and sustained productivity.


The kebun is part of the talun that has been cleared for the cultivation of annual crops. This clearing can take one of three forms. total cutting, selective cutting, or pruning. In selective cutting, only certain species or trees of certain dimensions are cut; in pruning, only the branches of trees are cut, to allow more sunlight to penetrate the overhead canopy.

Total cutting and selective cutting represent total or partial harvest of the talun. The tops of bamboo trees are used for poles to support vines subsequently planted in the kebun. Usually, following an old social custom, neighbours also have the right to collect branches. Smaller branches and leaves are collected, dried in the sun, and burnt, after which the ashes are mixed with animal dung brought from the village. Ash and manure are composted together in a pile under a protective grass roof to prevent leaching.

The kebun, like the talun, may feature one main crop but it is usually mixed and multi-cropped. A typical kebun planting succession is as follows:

1. After clearing, seedbeds are prepared in a small part of the kebun for chill) pepper, leunca (Solanum nigrum), Chinese cabbage (Brassica juncea), and surawung (Ocinum basilicum). Poles of bamboo are set up to support the rows of rosy (Dolichas lablab); the distance between rows is about 4 m and within rows about 1.5 m. Between these rows, a line of smaller bamboo poles is set up, each about 40 cm apart, to support paria (Momodica charantia) or bitter lemon. Seeds of paria are planted near the smaller poles, usually two seeds per hole. The soil is worked lightly with a hoe after planting.

2. Two weeks after the paria has been planted, holes are made near each of the larger bamboo poles for two to three seeds of away, which are covered with compost. At about the same time, cassava is planted along the edges of the kebun to serve as protection, as a boundary marker, and for food. Between the rows of paria and roay shallow ditches are made, where, two to three days after the rosy, cucumber seeds are planted at intervals of 40 cm.

3. Two weeks after this planting, the cucumbers have formed one pair of leaves - a stage of growth referred to as tumpang daunt Vegetable seedlings from the seedbeds are now transplanted near the cucumbers and all plants are manured with a mixture of compost and urea. A few days later, the kebun is weeded and soil heaped up around the plants.

4. The first harvest begins with cucumbers 40 days after planting, and continues at three- to five-day intervals for about two months. Chinese cabbage is next, followed by paria, which is harvested for three weeks consecutively. At this time also, leunca, surawung, and chill) pepper begin to be harvested. Their productive season extends over four months, with leunca picked weekly, chill) pepper once a fortnight, and surawung irregularly depending on the productivity of the plants. Rosy is harvested seven months and cassava nine months after planting.

The annual production cycle of the kebun is over with the cassava harvest, and the soil is hoed for a second planting. However, since new starts of bamboo and seedings of perennials have grown, fewer annuals can be cultivated. Gradually, the kebun turns into a kebun campuran or mixed garden, or a talun campuran or mixed talun, depending on growth patterns. The term "mixed" refers to the mixture of annuals and perennials. Thus, in the kebun-campuran, talun perennials have already reappeared and are allowed to grow, reducing the space available for planting typical kebun crops. To keep up production, another plot is cleared within the talun and planted to first-year kebun as part of the cycle in which it, like all kebun, will revert back to talun.


Undoubtedly, the talun-kebun system of shifting cultivation will continue to evolve as a result of demographic and socio-economic factors. One possible evolutionary trend is overexploitation leading to severe soil depletion and the subsequent demise of the system. An indication of such a danger might lie in the fact that today mainly older people are familiar with the term talun, while the younger generation is more familiar with the term kebun. Talun appears to be a term that is disappearing in West Java, due either to the rapid spread of the Indonesian language, which designates any cultivated dryland plot as kebun, or to the diminishing significance of the talun stage in the production cycle. If this phenomenon is more than pure linguistic substitution, it may be the result of an intensification of cultivation and a corresponding reduction in talun.

When population pressure and economic incentives become more powerful than traditional conservationist trends, cultivators begin working against their own interests for short-term gains. They reduce fallow or talun plots in size or duration and over-concentrate on commercially valuable species at the sacrifice of species diversity - one of the trade marks of the talun-kebun. Such a development will not only have certain ecological repercussions, but will also affect household nutritional status even though more cash may be available periodically.

To prevent this situation arising, studies are required on the dynamics of the talun-kebun, ecologically and as part of the peasant economy. Means must be designed to preserve this valuable system, so that it can continue to sustain the lives of the people with whom it originated. The improvement of agricultural techniques and plant materials to obtain quantitatively and qualitatively higher yields are two points of departure. At the same time, improvement of extension education and training in new technologies may contribute to improving the system.


1. H. Conklin, Hanunoo Agriculture in the Philippines, Forestry Development, Paper No. 12 (FAO, Rome, 1957).

2. D. R. Harris, "The Origins of Agriculture in the Tropics," in R. L. Smith, ea., The Ecology of Man: An Ecosystem Approach (Harper & Row, New York, 1976), pp. 122 - 130.

3. M. Harris, Culture, Man, and Nature (Crowrell, New York, 1971).

4. J. Iversen, "Forest Clearance in the Stone Age," in J. Janick, R. W. Schery, F. W. Woods, and V. W. Ruttan, eds., Plant Agriculture (1956), pp. 22 - 27.

5. L. Pospisil, The Kapauku Papuans of West New Guinea (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1963).

6. J. B. Raintree, ed., Resources for Agroforestry Diagnosis and Design, Working Paper No. 7 (ICRAF, Nairobi, 1983).

7. R. A. Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors: Ritual in the Ecology of a New Guinea People (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1968).

8. M. Stocking, "Crisis for Agriculture's Cinderella," International Agricultural Development (March/April 1984), pp. 8 - 9.

9. G. J. A. Terra, "The Distribution of Mixed Gardening in Java," Landbouw, 25: 163 - 223 11953).


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