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Monocultures: Life and Death in Asian Plantation Zones
April 29, 2019 - 10:00-12:00
Open seminar with Kevin Woods, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Honolulu, and Bengt G. Karlsson, Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University.
During the last decade there has been an explosion of large-scale monocultural plantations in the Global South. Forest areas are increasingly being converted into massive plantions of cash crops, bio fuel and fast growing trees. This has been especially prevalent in Asia where growing populations and economies have spured the demand for plantation crops. When a plantation is established the land is first cleared of the earlier vegetation and both new high-yielding crops and laborers are brought in from elsewhere. To this end plantations carry a troubling history of slavery and exploitation of laborers. Moreover, plantations lead to the catatrophic destruction of ecosystems and undermine the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other local communities. In this seminar we will discuss the expansion of agroindustries in Asia, taking the example of palm oil and tea plantions.