Rattan is the common name for a diverse group of climbing palms found throughout Old World tropical forests. For centuries people have used them for binding, basketry, house construction, food, and numerous other non-market purposes; more recently the canes of some species have been gathered for the multi-billion-dollar furniture, handicraft, and mat-making industries. Thus rattan continues to be vital to the culture and economic well being of millions of cane collectors, laborers, and artisans throughout tropical Asia and Africa. The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia, by Stephen F. Siebert, explores this valuable forest product, the tropical forests on which it depends, and the societies that flourish by using and managing these remarkable plants.
A website (http://www.cfc.umt.edu/rattan/) includes additional photographs, suggested reading, and discussion topics.
January 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3536-1 / $44.00 (CLOTH)