Snaking along a pot-holed road on the way to our next surf spot in eastern Java, loaded up with our surfboards and bags in the racks of our motorbikes, I caught a glimpse of the unmistakable flower of Lantana. Enthusiastic to confirm it was Lantana and show it to my companions, I braked suddenly and pulled off the road. “I’ve found Lantana! I knew it would be here! This is terrific!”. Continue reading
A political ecology of weeds
How do plants that move and spread across landscapes become branded as weeds and thereby objects of contention and control? In a chapter recently published in the International Handbook of Political Ecology, Priya Rangan and I outline a political ecology approach that builds on a Lefebvrian understanding of the production of space, identifying three scalar moments that make plants into ‘weeds’ in different spatial contexts and landscapes. Continue reading
We were recently on air!
by Priya Rangan
On Thursday 16 October, Tom and I were interviewed by Vanessa Mills, the radio program host of Mornings on ABC Kimberley. During the 15 minute interview, we chatted with Vanessa about our research project on indigenous cultural perspectives regarding unwanted plants in their landscapes. She was particularly interested in the team’s recent research visit to a field site in southern India, and in Tom’s doctoral research project on indigenous weed management with Aboriginal ranger groups in the West Kimberley.
Floral battles: past and present
by Priya Rangan
As children growing up in Dehra Dun several decades before it became the capital of the state of Uttarakhand in the western Indian Himalayas, we spent a fair amount of time playing outdoors. It was a small town at the time, so there was plenty of outdoors, open space with some variety of vegetation, home gardens or, if you ventured a little further out, farm plots. Most afternoons, we’d spend time rushing about in the playground, and when tiring of it, wander along the canals and by-lanes in the neighbourhood, chattering away. Sometimes, as we walked along lanes lined with lantana hedges, we’d pluck a whole lot of flowers, pull the little florettes off the flower-heads and throw these at each other. As far as we knew, that’s what lantana was for, spontaneous floral confetti battles.
Seeing lantana in BRT Hills Reserve areas during our recent field visit brought back these childhood memories. Continue reading