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Agrarian Land Use Change and Constructions of the Commons: A Case of Indigenous Agriculture Development in Taiwan's Mountain Area

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lin, Chia-Nan; Tsai, Bor-Wen
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7376
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): land tenure and use
indigenous institutions
common pool resources
mountain regions
agricultural development
Abstract: "This study aimed to identify different land-use types from indigenous people’s agriculture development in Taiwan’s mountain areas. We focused on the agrarian land use changes, in attempt to analyze these land use types caused by what political and economic processes under mountain agriculture development in Taiwan. Further, we studied on indigenous people’s agrarian land use mechanism to figure out the regimes of resources management in different land use phases that they governed agrarian resources as common-pool resource. For these reasons, Tayah tribe, an indigenous community of Tayal people located in northern Taiwan, was selected for a case study to discuss for the tribe’s complicated progress of mountain agriculture. The result shows that the progress of mountain agrarian land use could be divided into three phases influenced by the political and economic situation. Each phase contains a specific regime about resource management that represents how land resources be interpreted and operated as the commons. These three phases were traditional swidden agriculture period, rice farming production, and diverse cash crops connected with market economy. Based on the findings, land use types which represented management regimes were transformed not only by agricultural process, but also by indigenous people’s cultural contexts. That illustrated land use issues of indigenous tribe especially located in mountain areas were complicated processes. Nowadays, the regime of resources management in local community was vulnerable and much weaker than before. That will be a critical and tough issue when we concerning about the robustness of management regimes especially in complex commons systems."

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