chapter  12
32 Pages

The environment, traditional production and population

ByElspeth Young, Colin Hunt, R. Gerard Ward

Traditional production is a holistic system in which economic activity, social and political structures and environmental resources are interdependent. Change in any of these prime components has major implications for the others. The introduction of cash cropping in traditional production systems, for example, may lead to vegetation clearance and soil erosion. It may also cause social disruption by widening the gap between the richer families of cash-cropping farmers and their poorer neighbours who have not been able to take advantage of these opportunities. Recognition of these interlinkages underlies the philosophy of sustainable development. In contemporary and future Asia-Pacific population development will only be sustainable if the socio-cultural and political dimensions of traditional production systems are acknowledged to be as significant as their economic

roles. Traditional production, through linking people with their immediate natural environment, provides the basis for group and individual identity. This function needs to be recognized in its contemporary transformation to modern, dynamic systems designed to cope with people's changing aspirations and goals, and with their incorporation into regional and global economies. Control of population growth, enhancement of equity in resource access and distribution of benefits from resource use are important principles in modern forms of traditional production. If AsiaPacific development is to be sustainable competition must be tempered with integration and co-operation.