Southeast Asia
An Environmental History
by Peter Boomgaard Mark R. Stoll, Series Editor
December 2006, 377pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-419-6
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-424-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, the geographies of the Southeast Asian region have been marked by environmental forces and the actions of individuals, governments, and business interests. Along with the impacts of civilizations, colonialism, and modernization, events both natural and humanmade have reshaped the region in remarkable and sometimes catastrophic ways.

From Angkor Wat to Agent Orange, Southeast Asia An Environmental History tells the story of some of the most dramatic effects humans have had on the natural and developed environment anywhere in the world and examines the ways in which environmental factors have helped shape the culture, politics, and societies of the region.

Ever since the first humanlike creatures arrived some 80,000 years ago, Southeast Asia’s varied and challenging environment has helped shape the course of human destiny. From the importance of its spices to 17th-century Europeans to the jungle canopies that sheltered Communist insurgents throughout much of the 20th century, the region’s environment has often proven decisive in human affairs.

Packed with key facts and analysis, Southeast Asia provides an expert guide to the complex interplay between human societies and the environment from Burma to the Philippines and from Vietnam to Indonesia. How has the environment helped shape politics, trade, and religion? What are the likely consequences of ongoing deforestation for Southeast Asia’s people and animals? Part of ABC-CLIO’s Nature and Human Societies series, this work charts the region’s environmental history from prehistory to modern times and is essential reading for students and experts alike.


  • The book includes 17 tables of climate features and socioeconomic variables
  • Each chapter comes with a bibliographic essay
Peter Boomgaard, Ph.D., is senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and professor of environmental history of Southeast Asia at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His published works include Children of the Colonial State and Frontiers of Fear.
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