Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area
Social-Ecological Perturbations and Human Responses
This chapter explores resilience and its limits in the context of ecological factors. The idea of social memory is examined, through which responses to ecological crises are mitigated by mythical proscriptions and the practical sharing of adaptive strategies. Mitigation practices for volcanic eruptions and the impacts of frosts were widespread in traditional Porgeran cultural knowledge. This chapter examines the implications of a changing environment due to increases in the number of El Niños and in population to understand the limits of adaptive knowledge. Looking at climate change and forest degradation through remote sensing and ecological surveys captures a more complex picture of development, demographic change, and environmental degradation. The ecological zones discussed in chapter 3 exhibit different states of vulnerability and varying amounts of resilience to heavy human impacts.