Cutting the Ground from under Them? Commercialization, Cultivation, and Conservation in Tonga

dc.contributor.author James, Kerry
dc.date.accessioned 2009-10-30T00:10:46Z
dc.date.available 2009-10-30T00:10:46Z
dc.date.issued 1993
dc.description.abstract The increasing commercialization of agriculture in Tonga has led to the adoption of agricultural practices that favor short-term monetary gain over the traditional techniques associated with more sustainable forms of agroforestry. Newer forms of cultivation and the overuse of the relatively small amounts of land available for commercial development will almost certainly lead to greater environmental deterioration than is now evident. The shortage of available land arises largely from the tenure system instituted last century, which distributes land by hereditary entitlement. Until recently this system has been considered the most equitable in the Pacific Islands, but it is now encouraging misuse of land. Because of population growth, proportionally fewer eligible men can now acquire garden land. At the same time, noble estate-holders still control large tracts of land, and thousands of customary allotments that have been allocated formally to individuals are underused because the registered landholder has moved away, often overseas. The land that is available for reallocation tends, therefore, to fetch high rents for only short lease periods. As a result, wealthy businessmen and nobles who control land have become the more successful agricultural entrepreneurs. Smaller operators obtain land through informal, often insecure, arrangements. Commercial growers often try to increase cash returns on crop yields by shortening fallow periods, thereby reducing the quality of both soil nutrients and revegetation. Trees are felled to facilitate mechanical tillage, a practice that disturbs soil structures. The increasing use of biocides, particularly on recently introduced monocultures, will further affect the environment in ways that are not yet adequately understood.
dc.identifier.citation James, K. 1993. Cutting the Ground from under Them? Commercialization, Cultivation, and Conservation in Tonga. The Contemporary Pacific 5 (2): 215-42.
dc.identifier.issn 1043-898X
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10125/12920
dc.language.iso en-US
dc.publisher University of Hawai'i Press
dc.publisher Center for Pacific Islands Studies
dc.subject.lcsh Oceania -- Periodicals.
dc.title Cutting the Ground from under Them? Commercialization, Cultivation, and Conservation in Tonga
dc.type Article
dc.type.dcmi Text
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