The Greening of Yap: The Transformative Reemergence of Subsistence Agriculture and Its Impact on Rural Community Development In Yap, FSM
On the islands of Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), in the Western Pacific, subsistence agricultural activities have been practiced since the pre-contact period and they continue to remain an important subsistence activity today. Current estimates place about 80% of the FSM as reliant on subsistence and semi-subsistence livelihoods (ADB 2005, pp. 98). Recently there has been a growing movement to use what were once solely traditional subsistence activities as income generating activities as well. Previous work conducted by Ames and Ames in 2007 on Yap, indicated that while many Yapese still relied extensively on subsistence activities, there was an increasing use of small-scale agricultural production to augment family incomes. Simultaneously, due to current economic conditions between 1990 and 2000 subsistence activities in the FSM have actually increased from 10% to 17% of families being dependent on subsistence activities (ADB 2005, pp.99). There is, however, a lack of research in Yap, which links the importance of small-scale agricultural and agro-forestry resources to sustainable economic activities and rural community development. This paper combines sociological and economic impact assessments with a cultural geographic analyses of these small-scale agricultural and agro-forestry resources, and addresses how they have been transformed into wage generating activities and simultaneously reemerged as critical subsistence activities and their role in sustaining small informal community economies in Yap.
Keywords: Sociology, Cultural Geography, Subsistence Activities, Sustainable Economies, Rural Development
Dr. Todd Ames
Assistant Professor, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences