The nucleus studied natural and human-induced changes as well as the ways in which the environment influenced human behaviour, and how environmental change led, in turn, to behavioural change. Within this rather broad theme, however, the group focussed on the exploitation of natural resources.
The time of the researchers was divided between individual research projects and a common project – the organization of a workshop, for which all team members wrote papers.
This workshop was held from 24-25 May 2004, at NIAS, and was entitled The Wealth of Nature; How Natural Resources Have Shaped Asian History, 1600-2000. Funding was obtained from NIAS, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS, Leiden), and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, The Hague). There were 14 speakers, mainly scholars from abroad. Keynote speaker was the well known British historian Eric Jones. In rewritten form, most of the papers will be chapters in a collective volume, to be edited by Greg Bankoff and Peter Boomgaard. We expect publication in 2005 or 2006.