The Evolution of Haitian Peasant Land Tenure: A Case Study in Agrarian Adaptation

This study, based on twenty-one months of fieldwork, documents the occurrence of "cultural evolution" in the form of a series of adaptive land-sharing strategies that have emerged in a Haitian peasant community, serving as a partial buffer against the deleterious impact of internal population growth. The recent anthropological literature on agricultural intensification emphasizes adaptive changes in technology as an agrarian response to population growth. Population growth in Haiti, however, has led to a transformation, not of technology, but of land tenure, in the form of ritually mediated resource-sharing patterns that permit the bulk of the population to remain on the land despite serious intergenerational decreases in average landholding size.

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