Primitive Polluters

Semang Impact on the Malaysian Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystem
Volume 76
A. Terry Rambo


In the 1970s, A. Terry Rambo conducted fieldwork in Peninsular Malaysia with a group of Semang people. The community he studied had a seminomadic lifestyle: at times they stayed in houses or lean-tos in a village, and at other times they foraged in the surrounding rain forest for food. Rambo’s goal was to assess this group’s impact on the local environment. He found that, through domestic fires and cigarette smoking, they caused significant air pollution at the household level, but because of their small population size, they did not have much of an ecological impact.

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