Reappraising the Concept of Biocultural Diversity: a Perspective from South Africa
Cocks, M.L. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2014
Human Ecology 42 (2014)5. - ISSN 0300-7839 - p. 727 - 737.
eastern-cape - ecological knowledge - medicinal-plants - biodiversity - conservation - landscapes - forests - domestication - people - communities
Biocultural diversity has been conceptualised as the sum of the world’s differences regarding biological diversity at all levels and cultural diversity in all its manifestations, and their interactions. The concept is often framed in the context ofconservation as a retention versus loss model by emphasizing the religious and spiritual values of the natural environment and the positive interactions between traditional indigenous people and conservation of natural ecosystems and indigenous species. On the basis of our research amongst the ‘non-traditional’ amaXhosa in South Africa, we argue that this interpretation is too narrow and that the concept needs to be reappraised in order to capture the dynamic, complex and relational nature of biocultural diversity relations. We conclude that the concept involves a complex of human values and practices related to the three main dimensions of biodiversity at landscapes, species and genetic levels. It is not only related to the conservation of wild species in culturally venerated natural ecosystems, but also to human creativity in creating hybrid nature-culture systems, including the incorporation of biodiversity in the human domain through the creation of human-modified landscape elements and agro-biodiversity. The biocultural values and practices are subject to various dynamics in relation to socioeconomic change. Some lose their importance as a result of modernization, but others endure even in urban conditions.
Eliciting indigenous knowledge on tree fodder among Maasai pastoralists via a multi-method sequencing approach
Kiptot, E. - \ 2007
Agriculture and Human Values 24 (2007)2. - ISSN 0889-048X - p. 231 - 243.
agroforestry development - ecological knowledge - kenya - turkana - perspectives - management - dynamics - resource - system - rights
Although the potential of indigenous knowledge in sustainable natural resource management has been recognized, methods of gathering and utilizing it effectively are still being developed and tested. This paper focuses on various methods used in gathering knowledge on the use and management of tree fodder resources among the Maasai community of Kenya. The methods used were (1) a household survey to collect socio-economic data and identify key topics and informants for the subsequent knowledge elicitation phase; (2) semi-structured interviews using key informants to gather in-depth information; (3) tree inventory to collect quantitative data on the ecological status of trees and shrubs on rangelands; and (4) group consensus method to countercheck information elicited from key informants. Study results obtained show that the use of multiple methods in an appropriate sequence is an effective way of building upon the information elicited from each stage. It also facilitates the collection of different types of data and knowledge allowing a measure of triangulation, which can be used to confirm the validity and consistency of indigenous knowledge. Multiple methods also allow the collection of more knowledge than can be obtained if only one method is used. Therefore, it is recommended that future studies on indigenous knowledge systems use multiple methods that combine both individual and group interviews in order to obtain more complete and accurate information.