Stevens, Stanley F.. Sherpa settlement and subsistance: cultural ecology and history in highland Nepal

Table of Contents

Publication Information


Environment, Culture, And Cultural Ecology

History And Cultural Ecology

Cultural Ecology And Highland Peoples

Adaptive Strategies And Verticality

Himalayan Cultural Ecology

Previous Research In Khumbu

Field Research

Living And Working In Khumbu

Research Climate

Oral History Fieldwork

Chapter One Sherpa Khumbu


Sherpa Regions




Local Geography

Cultural Landscape

Current Settlement Pattern

Main Villages

Namche Bazar

Khumjung And Kunde



Thamicho: Thami, Thami Teng (thamote) And Yulajung

Settlement History


Early Settlement

Settlement Growth

Population Growth.

Chapter Two A High-altitude Economy

Himalayan Subsistence Systems

Middle Altitude Agropastoralism

High Altitude Subsistence Systems

Sherpa Subsistence Systems

Khumbu Subsistence Patterns

Altitudinal Use And Khumbu Ecosystems

Integration Of Land Use Activities



Economic Differentiation And Subsistence


Early Century Trade

Middle Century Trade

The Transformation And Decline Of The Tibet Trade

Trade And Land Use

Tourism Development

The Khumbu Mountaineering Era

The Trekking Era

The Impacts Of Tourism

Chapter Three The Social Organization Of Agriculture

The Social Organization Of Agriculture

Land And Land Tenure


Land As A Commodity

Rented Land


Labor Requirements

Sexual Division Of Labor

Age And Agricultural Labor

Reciprocal Labor

Wage Labor

Sustenance And Surplus

Food, Culture, And Subsistence

Surplus And Local Exchange

Regional Food Balance

Government And Farming


Government And Land Expansion


Chapter Four Crops And The Cropping Cycle

Tibetan Staples

Barley (hordeum Vulgare)



Buckwheat (fagopyrum Tataricum)




New World Cultigens

Potato (solanum Tuberosum)

The Potato In Khumbu

Major Current Varieties

Rikki Moru

Rikki Seru

Rikki Bikasi

Rikki Mukpu

Jerusalem Artichoke (helianthus Tuberosus)




The Agricultural Cycle

Field Preparation

Potato Planting

Intercropping Radish And Potatoes

Barley And Buckwheat Planting




Potato Harvest:


Harvesting Buckwheat And Barley

Hay Harvest

Chapter Five Knowledge, Belief, And Practice

Local Environmental Knowledge And Belief

Microenvironmental Conditions



Climatic Hazards


Untimely Rains


Crop Diseases And Pests


Viral Infections

Insect Problems

Wildlife Depredation

Livestock Damage

Agronomic Knowledge

Crop Evaluation

Potato Varieties And Crop Selection


Special Preparations


Altitudinal Fitness


Disease And Pest Resistance

Fodder Value


Risk And Response

Planting Schedules

Multi-elevational Fields

Technical Responses To Adverse Conditions

Rainfall And Snow


Religious Responses

Individual Measures

Community Measures

Rites Of Communal Protection

Tengur: Circumambulating The Fields


Shimbak Regulations

Chapter Six Agricultural Change

Previous Views

Early Agriculture

Nineteenth Century Agriculture

The Introduction Of The Potato

Oral History Accounts Of The First Khumbu Potatoes

Early Twentieth Century Agriculture

The Introduction Of Potatoes To Dingboche

The Potato Revolution Re-examined

Abandoned Terraces

Agricultural Change 1930–1975

The Introduction Of Rikki Moru

Technological Change

Shimbak Practices

Recent Change (post-1976)

The Introduction And Diffusion Of Rikki Seru


The Introduction Of Other New Potato Varieties

The Decline Of Buckwheat Cultivation

Fodder Crop Production

Agricultural Experimentation

Tourism And Agricultural Change

Chapter Seven Pastoralism

Pastoralism And Subsistence

Livestock Types

Yak (bos Grunniens)

Cattle (bos Taurus And Bos Indicus)

Yak-cattle Crossbreeds

Sheep And Goats

Herd Structure


Pamu And Zhum


Sheep And Goats

Regional Cattle Ownership Patterns

Imja Khola (pangboche And Kunde Herding)

Bhote Kosi (thamicho Herding)

Dudh Kosi (khumjung And Phortse Herding)

Pastoral Resources

Range Resources

Hay And Fodder

Communal Regulation Of Pastoralism

Effectiveness Of The Di System

Herding Patterns

Knowledge, Belief, And Pastoral Patterns

Village Lands, Commons, And Grazing

Village Herding Patterns

Communal Regulations And The Timing Of Herding Patterns

Family Herding Patterns

Chapter Eight Pastoral Change

Early Herding In Khumbu

The Origins Of The Naua System

The Heyday Of Khumbu Yak And Nak Herding

Winter Herding In Tibet

The Decline Of The Great Herds

Changes In The Importance Of Hay

The Declining Importance Of Sheep In Khumbu

Sherpa Sheep

Recent Pastoral Change

Shifts In Cattle Keeping 1957–1987

The Decline Of Communal Regulation Of Herding

Pastoralism And Environmental Change

Fire And Grasslands

Grazing And Vegetation Change


Increasing Stress On Pastoral Resources

Winter Livestock Losses

Chapter Nine Sherpa Forest Use And Management


Construction Timber

Sherpa Protected Forests

Sacred Groves

Lami Nati: “lama's Forests”

Temple And Monastery Groves

Secular Preserves

Rani Ban

Bridge Forests

Avalanche Protection

Administering And Enforcing Forest Regulations

Traditional Management: Strengths And Shortcomings

Early Sherpa Impacts On Forests

Chapter Ten Forest Nationalization And Environmental Change

Forest Nationalization

Nationalization And Khumbu Forests

New Demands On Forests

Tourism And Forests

Sagarmatha National Park And Forest Regulation

Sagarmatha National Park, Tourism, And Forests

Recent Forest Change (1965 To Present)

Oral History Accounts Of Recent Forest Change

Repeat Photography And Forest Change

Recent Local Management

Recent Forest Use And Regulation


Khumbu Subsistence In Sherpa Context

Khumbu Subsistence Strategies

Change And Persistence

Historical Change In Land Use

Continuity And Persistence


Resource Management, Environmental Change, And Adaptation

Khumbu And Cultural Ecology

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Sherpa settlement and subsistance: cultural ecology and history in highland Nepal

Published By: Original publisher Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International. 1990. 3, 14, 486 p. ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication [by] Stanley Francis Stevens

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2004. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Sherpa (AK06)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Theoretical orientation in research and its results (121); Climate (132); Topography and geology (133); Flora (137); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Sociocultural trends (178); Functional and adaptational interpretations (182); Cultural goals (185); Pastoral activities (233); Tillage (241); Vegetable production (244); Land use (311); Lumbering (313); Settlement patterns (361); Production and supply (433); External trade (439);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This dissertation presents a cultural ecological study of land use, management, and transformation among the Khumbu Sherpas of Nepal. The source examines ways in which the Sherpas have adapted to their difficult mountain environment through their distinctive subsistence practices and resource management institutions. 'This examination of patterns of agriculture, pastoralism, and forest developed over four centuries highlights the dynamic interaction in changing subsistence strategies between resource requirements, local environmental knowledge, community regulation of resource use, and continuing affirmation of enduring cultural assumption and values which have remained characteristically Sherpa through generations' (p. 1). The source provides information on the Sherpa economy, with particular emphasis on agriculture, pastoralism, and forest use and management.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 13

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ak06-013

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: UM9006525 Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of California at Berkeley, 1989 Includes bibliographical references (p.472-486) For the most part uses Fürer-Haimendorf's 1957 data as comparative baseline, although Stevens does delve into earlier historical data and oral history for additional information about traditional substance patterns.

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1979-1987

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Geographer-4,5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle ; 1991

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1957-1987

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Khumbu region, Nepal

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Sherpa (Nepalese people)


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