By Stanley F. Stevens
Stanley Stevens brings a brand new old standpoint to his remarkably well-researched examine of a subsistence society in ever-increasing touch with the surface global. The Khumbu Sherpas, recognized for his or her mountain climbing exploits, have usually been depicted as sufferers of the world's highest-altitude vacationer increase. yet has the movement of outsiders to Mt. Everest and the heights of Nepal in reality destroyed a good, finely balanced dating among the Sherpas and their environment?Stevens's leading edge use of oral historical past and cultural ecology means that tourism isn't the watershed situation many have thought of it to be. Drawing on wide interviews and knowledge amassed in the course of 3 years of fieldwork, and with using various maps and charts, he records the Sherpas' inventive edition to high-altitude stipulations, their earlier and current agricultural, pastoral, alternate, and woodland administration practices, and their very own views at the environmental background in their place of origin. it is a e-book for geographers, anthropologists, and all these attracted to conservation of the earth's excessive locations.
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Extra info for Claiming the High Ground: Sherpas, Subsistence, and Environmental Change in the Highest Himalaya
It is situated only slightly higher in altitude than today's main villages, has one of Khumbu's largest expanses of relatively level, arable land, and is one of the two places in the region in which irrigated barley can be grown on a large scale. One shortcoming is the absence of any adjacent woodland, but in earlier times Tarnga may have had better access to timber and fuel wood than at present. v... even open woodland nearer to Tarnga itself. If Tarnga was the early focus of settlement in the Bhote Kosi it is unclear why and when the center of settlement shifted to the present main villages of the valley.
Seismic activity, mountain torrents, glacial lake outbursts, volcanism, and other geomorphological hazards unique to highland regions may influence settlement and land-use patterns. And extreme altitude may also affect human physiology, influencing fertility and diet requirements in ways that also have repercussions on lifestyles and basic subsistence requirements (Moran 1979:142, 147-161). High-altitude life may thus in a variety of ways pose significant constraints to settlement and offer relatively fewer subsistence options than many other environments.
It is common also for the dynamics of subsistence strategies themselves to create other types of more direct resource-use interaction. Both the middle-altitude and high-altitude strategies characteristically employ tactics of multialtitudinal land use and seasonal movement between several settlement sites. There is often some overlap in the microenvironmental areas exploited, especially for pastoral patterns. Both middle- and high-altitude agropastoralists value the grazing resources found in the high summer pastures and the lower valley forests, grasslands, and fallowed fields.