The caloric returns to food collecting: Disruption and change among the Batak of the Philippine tropical forest

James F. Eder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


The changing economy of a group of tropical forest hunter-gatherers is examined. The Batak of the Philippines today earn many calories by participating in an external market system; once they would have earned these calories within the traditional subsistence system. Gathering and selling Manila copal to purchase rice has partially displaced digging wild yams as the major source of subsistence. Data show that this change has reduced the productive efficiency, of human labor. The Batak must work longer and perform more difficult tasks to obtain the same number of calories by collecting copal as they can obtain by digging wild yams, even as they must today work longer hours anyway to earn necessary cash to satisfy new, nonfood consumer wants. The growing dietary importance of rice is only one aspect of changing food consumption patterns that may be having an unfavorable impact on Batak nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1978



  • Phillipines
  • diet
  • energetic efficiency
  • food collecting
  • hunter-gatherers
  • tropical forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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