Resource Details

Rattan: ecological balance in a Borneo rainforest swidden

Literature: Journal Articles

Weinstock, J.A. 1983, "Rattan: ecological balance in a Borneo rainforest swidden", Economic Botany, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 58-68.


NY Botanic Garden


Economic Botany

Species Info

  • Calamus trachycoleus (rattan)


  • This study provides an overview of rattan a plant in the tribe of vine - growing palms from southeast Asia (Calamus trachycoleus is a common taxa).
  • Rattan is used most often as fiber, furniture, or quick building material (similar to bamboo).
  • Rattan can be cut in cycles of 7-10 years (commonly done in traditional swidden / shifting cultivation land use patterns).
  • Author explains that tropical agriculture focuses on perennials such as rattan, coffee and cacao - cash crops with perhaps more ecological integrity than annual cereals but at the expense of food security.  
  • Rattan prices spiked in the 70's and 80's, causing unsustainable harvesting of wild stocks. The author argues for a more sustainable management of rattan, so that it is sustainably harvested from agroforestry systems which permit food crops in addition to cash crops.  

Geographical Region

  • Insular Southeast Asia
  • Country

  • Indonesia
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