Impact of Outside Invasion in the Central Andes and Himalayas

1001 Words 5 Pages
Impact of Outside Invasion in the Central Andes and Himalayas

In Toward a Cultural Ecology of Mountains: The Central Andes and Himalayas Compared, David Guillet writes to address the nature of cultural adaptations between two mountain populations. His research is spurred by increased recognition that human intervention can cause detrimental resource degeneration in these fragile mountain environments. Guillet attempts to answer two questions; What environmental constraints on material provisioning will a human population encounter in mountains? How does the range of possible responses lead to patterns of social relations?

By asking these questions Guillet believes that the production process is the critical link between
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These patterns are representative of the "potential for intensification, demands on land and labor, and the managerial requirements of vertical production zones (Guillet, 563)." The overall production of land and labor appears to be higher for lowlands than mountain regions. The higher the elevation the less potential for the intensification of production. The differences in productivity are a result of the vertical production zone and population density. Generally speaking, population decreases with altitude. The result of this separation forces the population at a higher elevation to be dependent on the lower zones for goods and services.

To reduce risk and gain reciprocal labor during peak periods, households at higher elevations are forced to diversify production. By creating a network of social relations they can afford to rely on others in circumstances that would otherwise be devastating. In the higher production zones of both the Central Andes and Himalayas, communal management is extremely important to the reproduction of resources (Guillet, 564). This type of authority involves communal decisions and the delegation of a leader.

David Guillet has discovered that mountain adaptations have three basic elements. First, a wide variety of vertical production zones is necessary. Each zone is characterized by a complex interaction of variables including agricultural selection, social
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