Subject: Re: Hunting, Was: The Dreaded Native Peoples Thread
Date: Apr 21 09:09:13 1995
From: Harriet Whitehead - whitehea at

Yes, I'm familiar with Bulmer and Healy's respective works,
though I'm not sure I derived any clear ecological wisdom message from
these works. The thing is, once you start using phrases like "not greatly
degraded their environment," its all a sort of word game. Take any
aboriginal tribal people who are "not greatly degrading" their
environment and increase their population without changing their
lifestyle - would they still be not greatly degrading it? And yet the
so-called "wise" lifestyle is unaltered.
My New Guinea folks again (who are remaining nameless, you'll
notice). I estimated that this tiny village, which usually had less than
80 people in residence at any given point, was packing in about 52 tons
of firewood per year for their basic cooking and heating needs. The
near-bush was exceedingly well trimmed and one had to trek out about 20
minutes are so to get to good firewood. Just start increasing population
figures for a bit and you begin to get a grimmer picture. This is all
before any Western influence becomes relevant. Not that there aren't some
countervailing goodies in all this. To touch upon birds, for example, for
the sake of those birders still reading: with the expansion of the
cleared areas around their villages, people began to plant more marita
pandanus (for their own diet). This is a favorite food of the Raggiana
Bird of Paradise, among others. The result of this human activity was
that Raggiana was the 4th most common bird around the village: a treat
for the visiting birder!

Harriet Whitehead
Anthropology WSU