Presenting a thorough examination of the sacred forests of Asia, this volume engages with dynamic new scholarly dialogues on the nature of sacred space, place, landscape, and ecology in the context of the sharply contested ideas of the Anthropocene.
Given the vast geographic range of sacred groves in Asia, this volume discusses the diversity of associated cosmologies, ecologies, traditional local resource management practices, and environmental governance systems developed during the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial periods. Adopting theoretical perspectives from political ecology, the book views ecology and polity as constitutive elements interacting within local, regional, and global networks. Readers will find the very first systematic comparative analysis of sacred forests that include the karchall mabhuy of the Katu people of Central Vietnam, the leuweng kolot of the Baduy people of West Java, the fengshui forests of southern China, the groves to the goddess Sarna Mata worshiped by the Oraon people of Jharkhand India, the mauelsoop and bibosoop of Korea, and many more. Comprising in-depth, field-based case studies, each chapter shows how the forest’s sacrality must not be conceptually delinked from its roles in common property regimes, resource security, spiritual matters of ultimate concern, and cultural identity.
This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of indigenous studies, environmental anthropology, political ecology, geography, religion and heritage, nature conservation, environmental protection, and Asian studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Forests, Rivers, and Civilizations—The Oikos, Polis, and Cosmos of Asia’s Sacred Groves
Chris Coggins and Bixia Chen
Part 1 South Asia
South Asia—Sacred Forests and Human-Environment Relations
Krishna Gopal Saxena and Chris Coggins
1 The Politics and Poetics of Forested Sacred Natural Sites in East-Central India
2 "Come Let Us All Play": Sacred Groves, Sarna, and "Green" Politics in Jharkhand, India
3 Forest Gods and Forest Conservation: Local Perceptions of Village Sacred Forests in the Bhimashankar Region, Western India
4 Daikhos—Sacred Groves, Clan Rituals, and Gender Exclusion Among the Dimasas of Assam
Prithibi Pratibha Gogoi
5 Muslim Graveyard Groves: Plant Diversity, Ecosystem Services, and Species Conservation in Northwest Pakistan
Abdullah, Shujaul Mulk Khan, Zahoor Ul Haq, and Zeeshan Ahmad
6 Sacred Forests as Sites of Bio-Cultural Resistance and Resilience in Bhutan
Can Tamil Sacred Groves Survive Neoliberalism?
Eliza F. Kent
Part 2 East Asia
East Asia—Sacred Forests and Human-Environment Relations
Chris Coggins, Bixia Chen, and Dowon Lee
7 China’s Fengshui Forests: The Fate of Lineage Wind-Water Polities Under Ecological Civilization
Chris Coggins, Jesse Minor, and Bixia Chen
8 Korea’s Sacred Groves—The Maeulsoop: Forest Types, Ecosystem Services, and Current Distribution
Dowon Lee, GoWoon Kim, Wanmo Kang, Insu Koh, and Chan-Ryul Park
9 Utaki and Ashagi Sacred Forests in the Ryukyu Islands: Vegetation Structure and Conservation Management Challenges
10 Nostalgia, Restoration, and Reinventions of Sacred Groves in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China
Shrine Forests in Honshu, Japan
Part 3 Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia—Sacred Forests and Human-Environment Relations
Chris Coggins, Nikolas Arhem, Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono, Hoan Phan, Ha Le, and Ekoningtyas Margu Wardani
11 Stories of the Trees: Understanding Traditions and Transitions in the Katu Peoples’ Perceptions of Forests in Central Vietnam
Hoan Thi Phan and Ha Van Le
12 The Katu Spirit Landscape: Forests, Ecology, and Cosmology in the Central Annamites
13 Roles and Importance of Sacred Forests for Biodiversity Conservation in Thailand
Prasit Wangpakapattanawong and Auemporn Junsongduang
14 The Role of Spirits in Indigenous Ontologies and Their Implications for Forest Conservation in Karen State, Myanmar
Man Han Chit Htoo, Bram Steenhuisen, and Bas Verschuuren
15 Sacred Forests, Sacred Natural Sites, Territorial Ownership, and Indigenous Community Conservation in Indonesia
16 Governance Must Evolve to Meet New Needs of Indonesian Forest Communities
Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono
The Sacred Forest of the Orang Rimba Hunter-Gatherers of Sumatra
Ekoningtyas Margu Wardani
Part 4 Asian Sacred Forests in Global Perspective
Conclusions and Preludes: The Many Lives of Sacred Forests
Chris Coggins and Bas Verschuuren
Chris Coggins is Professor of Geography and Asian Studies at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, USA. He is editor and author of Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands (2014, with Emily Ting Yeh); The Tiger and the Pangolin: Nature, Culture, and Conservation in China (2003); and The Primates of China: Biogeography and Conservation Status—Past, Present, and Future (2002).
Bixia Chen is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of the Ryukyus, Japan. She is co-editor of Traditional Rural Landscapes in Island Topography in East Asia (2012, with Yuei Nakama).