> My incipient rant wasn't aimed at you, so much as the rest of s.a.p. I
> did hope that tapping into a widespread, interested resource like
> s.a.p, on something other than sweaty humans and valgus knees, for a
> change, would produce a much wider response.
> Maybe it still will.
Mate, a quick visit to www.google.com will find all sorts of things.
Here's one I found:
If the Aborigines did not practice agriculture per se, they did carry
out the practice of land management, especially through the use of
fire. Ethno-botanists are only beginning to appreciate the vital role
that fire played in increasing the food supply of the Aborigines. Early
explorers often reported Aboriginal land fires. Many of the important
Aboriginal food plants require regular burning if they are to attain
their maximum production. Some desert plants require more frequent
burning than others, resulting in a "mosaic of plant communities in
different stages of fire recovery."
There's a wealth of material on Australian aboriginal land management.
Try a google for "firestick farming".
I found the first link by Googling "bush tucker man yams". The Bush
Tucker Man is former Australian Army Major Les Hiddins, who made a
series of very popular documentaries in the early '90s about his work,
which involved visiting all the most remote areas of Australia' north
on his own or with local tribal aborigines, learning about available
food sources. (I so want his job!)
The information was used to create maps with photographs of local "bush
tuckers", to be used by the army if they were ever forced to live off
the land while fighting a war against an invader from the north (our
perennial paranoia, I regret to relate - once known by the most
unsavoury description of the "Yellow Peril". Back in the days when we
had a "White Australia Policy".)
Anyway, as I was saying: I did see one of the Bush Tucker Man episodes
where the aborigines were shown doing exactly as you described: digging
up an edible root of some description, but leaving about a quarter of
it behind to regenerate. I'm going to suggest that such behaviour among
hunter-gatherer humans was the rule, not the exception...