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1855年，也就是在白人拉惹詹姆斯·布魯克的邀請下，探索砂拉越洪荒莽野後一年，正在山都望政府渡假村做客的華萊士，花了三個晚上寫了一篇論文，提出聞名後世的“砂拉越定律”（Sarawak Law）。 此定律說明了： 每一個物種的存在，在時間上與空間上，與密切關聯的物種都是一致的（Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with closely allied species）。 （華萊士著作《馬來群島》書中插圖，他所走過的研究探險版圖） 這個研究結論很有趣，和進化論學者達爾文在《物種起源》中所宣告的“物競天擇”、“弱肉強食”原理，基本上是背道而馳的。 華萊士後來的著作都反復說明，物種之間的互相競爭，其實最終會造成大多數物種彼此間的相互合作；整個地球因而是一個和諧的統一體。 華萊士曾在1848-1852年間在巴西阿瑪遜河流域做過研究。1854年到新加坡，緊接著到砂拉越，1856年到蘇拉威西群島、馬來亞半島、東帝汶一帶做研究。
為時八年，路遙二萬三千公里，跋涉過漫無人煙、命運難測的無數蠻荒曠野，採集過十二萬五千個鳥類、甲蟲與動物的樣本，很有趣的是，最令華萊士的兩種植物，居然是婆羅洲森林的竹子與山榴槤。 華萊士生前發表過800多篇學術報告/文章以及22部著作，其中最廣泛流傳、翻譯，至今仍然常青的一部書，就是根據他在東南亞探險所寫成的《馬來群島》（The Malay Archipelago，1869）。 2013年，華萊士逝世百年；沙巴有一位年輕企業家劉一章，用他特別的方式來紀念這位偉大的自然學家與生物地理學家，創造了系列以ARW（華萊士名字簡寫）榴蓮王產品，包括榴槤冰沙 、炸榴槤與榴槤酥。（原載 August 20, 2014愛墾網）
陳明發院士 《文創技能系列 29》：選榴槤的儀式
愛懇榴槤專頁 （Feature Photo：Durian by Sanjan Grero）
Alfred Russel Wallace as a geographer
Map shows the Wallace Line.
THE old saying, ‘History is about chaps and geography is about maps’, is hardly true,
for when Wallace landed in Borneo in his quest to explore the natural history of the Malay Archipelago, there was hardly an accurate map of Borneo to be found anywhere in the world.
My first interest in Geography stemmed from my inheritance of my grandmother’s geography school textbooks that she used in the 1890s as a primary school teacher. These books, now 155 years old, saw Geography merely as a list of places with estimated populations and a lengthy but boring catalogue of the commodities that each country produced. Little was written about the landscapes, climate, vegetation and peoples of each country.
On June 8, 1863, Wallace presented his paper entitled ‘On the Physical Geography of the Malay Archipelago’ to a learned audience at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Remember that, by then, Wallace had already explored the Amazon Basin and later Sarawak and Indonesia, no doubt utilising the knowledge of landscapes from his earlier days as a land and estates surveyor. This was the year after he returned to England from his Malay Archipelago exploratory adventures and six years before his famous book was published.
In his opening speech, he set out to convince the assembled throng that, “No (other) part of the world can offer a greater number of our facts for our contemplation, or furnish us with more extensive and varied materials in almost every department of human knowledge” than the Malay Archipelago.
Today, 154 years later, this still rings true. Wallace maintained that this archipelago was truly continental in its extent and should be recognised as a ‘sixth continent’. To give an idea of the size of Borneo island to those who had never viewed it, he pointed out that it “would contain the whole of Great Britain and Ireland”.
He linked volcanic activity to earthquake frequency highlighting “a vast fiery girdle some 5,000 miles in length with 50 or so continually active volcanoes with hundreds more in a dormant
state”. He mentioned examples of crater lakes and the remains of the explosive volcanic vents in Java. “The great eruption of Toruboro, in Sumbawa, saw the loss of 12,000 lives and the ashes darkened the air, and fell thick upon the earth and sea for 300 miles around”.
Note that this was written 10 years before the great eruption of Krakatoa, east of Java, in 1873, which could be heard in northern Australia. It created a tsunami, and emitted so much volcanic gases into the upper atmosphere that the world’s climates were upset for several years. Wallace detailed volcanic activity on Java mentioning that this island “contains more volcanoes, active and extinct than any other known district of equal extent”.
His geological knowledge came to the fore as he distinguished between active, dormant and extinct volcanoes, and the reasons for the different shapes of volcanic cones. Wallace acknowledged the fact that there was no evidence of volcanic action for “the great mass of Borneo” but he had little or no knowledge of the earthquake activity, which rattled settlements even then in the Ranau and Kundasang areas of Mount Kinabalu.
He quoted evidence of land upheaval and depression with particular reference to “upraised coral-rock, exactly corresponding to that now forming in the adjacent seas”, especially on the island of Amboyna. His interest in mining is best illustrated in his indirect mention of the deposits at Labuan’s coalfield, which he determined as “of tertiary age” and was no doubt inherited from his early days in surveying the route of the planned railway line to transport coal from the mines in the Welsh valleys to Neath in South Wales.
Climatologist and biogeographer
Relating vegetation types to monsoonal rain patterns, Wallace focussed, in this lecture, mostly on tropical rainforest and kerangas areas. In particular, he mentioned “the larger half of Borneo as having a dry season from April to November, with the South East monsoon”. Indirectly he inferred the influence of the ‘Coriolis effect’ in deflecting winds to the right in the northern hemisphere by simply stating “the same wind (South East Trade) bends round Borneo, becoming the South West monsoon into the China Sea and bringing the rainy season to Northern Borneo”.
Wallace’s full explanation, based upon his natural history observations, revealed what is now called ‘The Wallace Line’, delineating those Indo- Malayan species of plants and animals from the Austra-Malayan varieties. This, he dramatically illustrated in a one paragraph summary,
“Nowhere does the ancient doctrine that the peculiar animal and vegetable productions of the various countries of the globe are directly dependent on the physical conditions of those countries
(such as climate, soil, elevation etc.,) meet with more direct and palpable contradiction. Borneo and New Guinea, as physically alike as two countries can be, are zoologically wide as the Poles are asunder; while Australia …. produces the quadrupeds and birds which are mostly allied to those … that are found in the tropical rainforests of New Guinea.”
He illustrated these differences by referring to the vegetation and animals of South America and Africa, which may have triggered Alfred Wegener’s theory, some 52 years later in 1911, of Continental Drift. He emphasised that it was “preceding geological change” that produced the patterns he had observed in the Malay Archipelago.
Whilst a collector of various insect, animal and bird species, during his Malay Archipelago investigations, to despatch to British and European natural history museums, he concluded in his speech – perhaps in self-justification – an amazing foresighted final statement.
It reads thus, “Future ages will certainly look back upon us as people so immersed in the pursuit of wealth to be blind to higher considerations. They will consider us with having culpably allowed the destruction of some of those records of Creation which we had on our planet to preserve; and while professing to regard every living thing as the direct handiwork and best evidence
of a Creator, yet, with a strange inconsistency, seeing many of them perish irrecoverably from the face of the earth, uncared for and unknown.”
How true these wise words from the 19th century are in our 21st century.
Wallace cried out for preservation and conservation to maintain the biodiversity of our planet and his thoughts are replicated by conservationists today.
He was, indeed, a superb physical geographer explaining, in understandable terms, his vast knowledge of geology, geomorphology, climatology, meteorology, pedology and biogeography with appropriate turns of phrase. Alfred Wallace was, without doubt, a scientist well before his time when, later other scientists developed his ideas yet further.
Certainly, as a physical geographer, he has given me much thought as to how I view what has subsequently happened around our world. His down to earth style of writing, perhaps embellished by his Victorian vocabulary, still inspires further scientific and geographical investigations and enquiry today.
(JULY 9, 2017, SUNDAY https://www.theborneopost.com)
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愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來，一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, iconada.tv supports creators since July, 2009.
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