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Emergent Properties of Balinese Water Temple Networks: Coadaptation on a Rugged Fitness Landscape

Authors

  • J. Stephen Lansing,

    Professor
    1. University of Southern California
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    • 2

      Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

  • James N. Kremer

    Associate Professor
    1. University of Southern California
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    • 3

      Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.


Abstract

For over a thousand years, generations of Balinese farmers have gradually transformed the landscape of their island, clearing forests, digging irrigation canals, and terracing hillsides to enable themselves and their descendants to grow irrigated rice. Paralleling the physical system of terraces and irrigation works, the Balinese have also constructed intricate networks of shrines and temples dedicated to agricultural deities. Ecological modeling shows that water temple networks can have macroscopic effects on the topography of the adaptive landscape, and may be representative of a class of complex adaptive systems that have evolved to manage agroecosystems.

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