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Plantations

  • By: Keith Barney
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Plantations are assemblages of trees, shrubs, or plants deliberately established on an area of land. Plantations can also be understood as a system of agro-economic production. Plantations represent a dominant mode of industrial organization and social-ecological production in modern agriculture and forestry.

As an organizational form, the plantation has a significant colonial and postcolonial history. Between the 18th and early 20th centuries, tropical plantations were a primary form of colonial enterprise, organized around the cultivation of globally traded commodities, including sugarcane, bananas, coconuts, tea, cocoa, cotton, spices, and rubber. Different labor regimes became associated with the colonial plantation. In the Caribbean and the U.S. South, indentured and slave labor was widespread, while in the Netherlands East Indies and British Malaya, plantation labor regimes were based on ...

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