Geographia Polonica (1970) vol. 19

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Peasant Rice Cultivation Systems with some Malaysian Examples

Roland D. Hill

Geographia Polonica (1970) vol. 19, pp. 91-98

Abstract

According to Spencer, the geographer must view the methods of combining fields, crops and cultivation practices, that is cropping systems, from the per-spective of the whole culture of their practitioners1. This is highly desirable. Yet it is the imperative "must" that is objectionable. Cropping systems can also be conceived of as having an independent existence. The development of classifications of cropping systems has thus its own justification merely because the systems exist. There are also other aims. Detailed descriptions of cropping systems enable adequate comparisons to be made both in space and, given adequate source materials, in time. Furthermore such descriptions permit the review of conventional terminology and its modification if necessary. These considerations naturally apply to rice cultivation systems, which are almost as diverse as the peoples practising them.

This diversity of practice leads in two directions. One is in the direction of terminology that is so broad as to be of very limited value except at the highest level of generalization. What, for example, is included in the categories "wet rice", "dry rice" or "irrigated rice"? In the other direction is the way towards elaborate and complex classifications in which diversity may be sub-sumed. Thus no apology can be made for the complexity of the tentative scheme which follows.

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Roland D. Hill, Department of Geography University of Singapore Singapore