Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: The San Ildefonso Agta

Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: The San Ildefonso Agta

Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: The San Ildefonso Agta

Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: The San Ildefonso Agta

Synopsis

"An important and significant contribution to anthropology."--Barry S. Hewlett, Washington State University


The Agta Negrito people have been hunters and gatherers in the tropical rain forests of the Philippines for centuries. This book investigates a small group of the Agta living on Luzon Island during their transition from a foraging society to a landless group of agricultural workers.
The core of the book is a demographic study of fertility, mortality, and migration over a 44-year period. It is one of only two studies that have completely reconstructed the population dynamics of a foraging group without relying on mathematical models. Ethnographic and narrative historical sections of the book establish the contexts for the demographic data and enhance the study's readability. As a case history of social and population dynamics in a remote frontier region, the work describes the impact of international commercial interests on both the rain forest and the landless peasantry seeking to survive.
The work is of exceptional value because of the difficulties of obtaining reliable demographic data from a foraging group, and for the long-term coverage of the quantitative database.

John D. Early, retired professor of anthropology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, is the author of several books, most recently (with John F. Peters) The Population Dynamics of the Mucajai Yanomama.
Thomas N. Headland, adjunct professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Arlington and anthropology consultant for the Summer Institute of Linguistics, is the coeditor of Tropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension and of Emics and Etics: The Insider/Outsider Debate.

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is an investigation of the population dynamics of an Agta Negrito people living on Luzon Island in the Philippines. Population dynamics are the patterns of increase or decrease of a population resulting from its fertility, mortality, and migration. The present study is exceptional in that it presents the results of a 44-year quantitative database of these demographic variables from the time when the Agta were foragers in the rain forest to the period when they became peasants within rural Philippine society. This book is one of only two studies that have completely reconstructed the population dynamics of a foraging group without relying on mathematical models. The assumptions of those models may be of questionable validity for this type of population. As background for understanding the population dynamics, the preliminary chapters outline pertinent points of Agta ethnography and Philippine history as compiled from the existing literature.

This book may be seen as a case history of the social and population dynamics taking place in frontier regions remote from the media centers of the international world. It describes an example of a minority people found in such regions who are without economic, political, and social power and who are so little known that their story is not well understood. The analysis herein shows the impact of international logging interests on tropical rain forests as well as the condition of landless peasantry seeking a way of survival. This study also describes diseases suffered by these groups, which may help in confronting the medical problems of traditional indigenous peoples.

The subject matter of the book is within the disciplines of cultural and demographic anthropology and as such is primarily addressed to demographers and anthropologists. Some demographers and anthropologists may find the treatment overwritten in that explanations are given of terms and procedures for which a professional in these fields would need no explana-

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