Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Biocultural diversity: A novel concept to assess human-nature interrelations, nature conservation and stewardship in cities
    Elands, B.H.M. ; Vierikko, K. ; Andersson, E. ; Fischer, L.K. ; Gonçalves, P. ; Haase, D. ; Kowarik, Ingo ; Luz, A.C. ; Niemelä,, J. ; Santos-Reis, M. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2019
    Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 40 (2019). - ISSN 1618-8667 - p. 29 - 34.
    Biocultural diversity is an evolving perspective for studying the interrelatedness between people and their natural environment, not only in ecoregional hotspots and cultural landscapes, but also in urban green spaces. Developed in the 1990s in order to denote the diversity of life in all its manifestations―biological, cultural and linguistic―co-evolving within complex socio-ecological systems such as cities, biocultural diversity was identified in the GREEN SURGE project as a response to recent challenges cities face. Most important challenges are
    the loss of nature and degradation of ecosystems in and around cities as well as an alienation of urban residents from and loss of interaction with nature. The notion of biocultural diversity is dynamic in nature and takes local values and practices of relating to biodiversity of different cultural groups as a starting point for sustainable living with biodiversity. The issue is not only how to preserve or restore biocultural practices and values, but also how to modify, adapt and create biocultural diversity in ways that resonate with urban transformations. As future societies will largely diverge from today’s societies, the cultural perspective on living with (urban) nature needs careful reconsideration. Biocultural diversity is not conceived as a definite concept providing prescriptions of what to see and study, but as a reflexive and sensitising concept that can be used to assess the different values and knowledge of people that reflect how they live with biodiversity. This short communication paper introduces a conceptual framework for studying the multi-dimensional features of biocultural diversity in cities along the three key dimensions of materialized, lived and stewardship, being departure points from which biocultural diversity can be studied.
    The governance of indigenous natural products in Namibia : nature, diversity and dynamics
    Ndeinoma, Albertina - \ 2018
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): B.J.M. Arts, co-promotor(en): K.F. Wiersum; I. Mapaure. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463433563 - 150

    During the past decades increased attention had been given to the dual roles of NTFPs in fulfilling both livelihood needs and forest biodiversity conservation. These development efforts included measures to improve the governance of NTFPs concerning both access to resources and to markets. Nonetheless, in many cases these products are still poorly regulated around the world. Namibia is one of the countries in which a conscious effort has been undertaken to stimulate NTFP production and to improve their governance. These products are domestically referred to as indigenous natural products (INPs). In order to promote sustainable commercialisation of INPs, an Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT) was established in 2003 as a multi-stakeholder forum for fostering development. The IPTT was established to facilitate various pilot projects in production, processing and marketing of INPs in Namibia. As a result a multifaceted system involving multiple stakeholders and overlapping institutions has been developed through which decisions are made and implemented for regulating access to INPs and their markets.

    Studies to analyse the structure and process involved in this multifaceted system are scanty in Namibia. As Namibia has undertaken conscious efforts to stimulate NTFP development, this country offers a good opportunity to study the complexity in NTFP governance systems. Applying varied theoretical frameworks that taps from the different concepts of governance, this thesis analyses the nature, diversity and dynamics of different forms and mechanisms for governance of different categories of INPs in Namibia. Governance is a concept from political science literature which reflects changes in policy process from the traditional approach which is centred on top-down, command and control and state-centric authority toward a new multi-actor and multilevel approach. This thesis took a qualitative research approach and data were collected through interviews, focus group discussion, participant observation and document analysis. A combination of these research methods allowed cross-checking and triangulation of information.

    The thesis consists of four empirical chapters, the introductory chapter and the concluding chapter. The first two empirical chapters analyses the structures through which decisions for management and trade of INPs are made and assesses how these structures influenced INP policy process. The last two chapters analyses the processes through which INP related decisions are practiced and how they evolved as influenced by different international discourses.

    The structure of INP governance in Namibia constitute several dimensions. Firstly, the actor dimension of INP governance constitutes different multi-stakeholder governance forums such as the Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT), the Devil’s Claw Working Group (DCWG) and the Interim Bioprospecting Committee (IBPC). These governance forums have emerged in response to different policy concerns therefore their substantive focus also varies. Whereas the IPTT mainly focuses on coordination of INP activities, the DCWG and the IBPC have mainly focused on agenda setting and policy-making. The actor dimension of INP governance is also reflected in an interactive network of pilot projects. In this network, clusters or sub-groups of actors can be distinguished that focus their activities on different functions such as: value addition and product development, resource assessment and management and institutional capacity building. Both the multi-stakeholder forums and the clusters of pilot projects do not yet include all relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders such as primary producers, private sector and product quality standardisation bodies are weakly represented in these structures.

    These findings indicate that attention needs to be given to the further development of policy platforms in which all relevant stakeholders are represented to further stimulate a balancing of stakeholder interests and power within the project dominated governance networks that exists in Namibia.

    Secondly, the structure of governance was described in terms of existing arrangements for accessing INPs and their markets. This mix of governance arrangements is species-specific. Whereby commercially interesting INPs are mostly accessed through highly institutionalised legal arrangements, products that are sold at informal markets are accessed solely through community-based and self-organised governance arrangements with no legal instruments involved.

    On the other hand, arrangements related to accessing INP niche markets are also different in terms of market destination and the relations between product suppliers and buyers. Due to these differences, three types of value chain arrangements for providing access to markets were identified. The captive value chain is mostly dominated by a few lead firms and a minimal value chain upgrading within the producer country. This value chain concern products such as devil’s claw that are sold at international markets. In the relational or quasi-hierarchical value chain, producers are supported through user group associations, trade associations and public support from NGOs and the state. The organised producers are linked directly to manufacturers through financial and technical support led either by NGOs or the state. Products such as marula oil, Commiphora resin and Kalahari melon oil are typically marketed through such chain arrangements. The last value chain is highly informal and it mainly operates at the level of domestic markets, characterised by the interaction between local producers and buyers. Mopane worm production reflects this value chain.

    This differentiation in value chains indicates that the governance arrangements for accessing resources and markets are characterised by either formal or customary norms, often acting in combination. Although several relations in the different governance arrangements could be identified, a uniform pattern of factors that determine a particular type of governance arrangement for a given INP could not be determined. Rather than being purposively developed, the governance arrangements for access to resources and markets often result from a reflexive and ad-hoc development process. Considering the diversity in INP production and marketing systems, such a differentiated approach to the further development of INP governance arrangements seems to be most appropriate. However, in view of the fact that NTFP enterprises are often very small and that they co-exist geographically, it would be more effective if a general comprehensive policy approach is adopted for products sharing similar characters, such as products derived from protected species which are characterised by destructive harvesting methods or products sharing similar processing techniques or market segments.

    The governance process through which decisions for management and trade of INP are made shows that generally, INP activities in Namibia are gradually incorporated into the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) institutions where the performance practices of these institutions results in varied results. These CBNRM institutions were originally developed narrow in scope, crafted specifically for resources such as wildlife, timber or water. Gradually, several governance practices had to be further adapted in order to become compatible or complementary with existing culturally-based local practices. This often involved devil’s claw, where different arrangements for access and management emerged because of overlapping authorities to oversee harvesting, management and trade practices for devil’s claw. For devil’s claw, practices such as training in new techniques for resource assessments and sustainable harvesting were introduced especially in areas that are supported by civil society organisations. In contrast, in common access areas where support from civil society is limited, the capacity of the government to train harvesters and conduct pre- and post-harvesting resource assessment was limited and the customary systems of harvesting were maintained.

    Incorporation of INP activities into CBNRM also led to the scaling down of the formal CBNRM practices to the requirements of specific INPs. For example, establishment of Commiphora resin enterprises in communal conservancies in the Kunene region illustrates how formal requirements of forest inventory was scaled down to fit milestones required for establishment of community forests, which provides access to harvesting of Commiphora resin. Thus, in terms of scope, practices and procedures the designed CBNRM institutions initially lacked harmony with both the INP institutions at the national level and the socially embedded institutions at the local level.

    Apart from the mixed results reflected by the performance of CBNRM institutions, the process of INP governance in Namibia also shows an evolutionary trend from strict regulations toward a much more incentive based approach for management and trade of INPs. This trend is a result of the NTFP commercialisation discourse, which address biodiversity conservation, sustainable utilisation and poverty alleviation. Looking specifically at devil’s claw, which is sold to international markets, the development policy for this species is significantly impacted by the NTFP commercialisation discourse. The analysis of the impact of this discourse on the actual governance practices in Namibia demonstrates that multiple storylines that are supported by different actor coalitions has emerged. This therefore requires an inter-sectoral cooperation between different sectors. Specifically, further inputs from the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development, the Namibia Competition Commission and the National Standard Institute would be beneficial in shaping the market structure and value addition for the devil’s claw enterprise.

    In conclusions this study shows that Namibia has a well-established national stakeholder platform for coordinating NTFPs activities and sharing knowledge. This platform, which is dominated by state actors and civil society organisations, has made significant progress in terms of organising access to INPs in Namibia. The state actors and civil society organisations have adopted the international discourse of NTFP commercialisation, which promotes biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, to develop governance arrangements that are adapted to the Namibia land-use conditions. However, more attention still needs to be given to the development and support of INP-based small and medium enterprises.

    This thesis contributes towards the increasing scientific evidence, which indicate that NTFP policies are multidimensional. The stimulation of improved governance of INPs is characterised by pragmatic developments that are differentiated according to the different types of NTFPs. Such a flexible approach is appropriate for NTFPs in view of the variety in NTFP ranging from locally-used to internationally traded products and from endangered wild species to cultivated species as well as the variety in marketing conditions, including emergence of new niche markets. Such a flexible approach is also appropriate in view of the gradual incorporation of INP management activities into the CBNRM programmes of wildlife, timber and water. In developing improved governance systems for stimulating NTFP production as a contribution to sustainable development it is therefore imperative to recognize that there does not exist an institutionally clearly delineated NTFP sector, as suggested by the term INP sector in Namibia, but rather a complex network of institutional arrangements for specific NTFPs.

    Biocultural diversity – a new approach to understand connections between people and nature in cities
    Elands, B.H.M. ; Haase, Dagmar ; Vierikko, Kati ; Andersson, E. ; Gonçalves, P. ; Fischer, L. ; Kowarik, Ingo ; Luz, A.C. ; Niemelä, Jari ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2018
    Perspectives on Non-Wood Forest Product Development in Europe
    Wiersum, K.F. ; Wong, J.L.G. ; Vacik, H. - \ 2018
    International Forestry Review 20 (2018)2. - ISSN 1465-5489 - p. 250 - 262.
    Within Europe new interests in the role and importance of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) are developing. This article analyses emerging perspectives on NWFP development in Europe and relates these to four main issues effecting NWFP developments in tropical countries: diversity in the contribution of NWFPs to (rural) livelihoods, centrality of culture, the gradient from NWFP extraction to monocultural cultivation, and the importance of local and regional markets. Whereas in tropical countries much attention has been given to the role of NWFPs as a basic livelihood asset, in European countries the focus is increasingly oriented on NWFPs as niche-marketed products or as well-being products
    embedded in recreation and pedagogic services. Four main development orientations may be distinguished. These are not uniformly distributed
    over Europe. Depending on socio-economic, cultural and ecological conditions five European regions with different characteristics in respect to NWFP use and development are identified.
    How environmental NGOs have influenced decision making in a ‘semi-authoritarian’ state : The case of forest policy in Ethiopia
    Ayana, Alemayehu N. ; Arts, Bas ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2018
    World Development 109 (2018). - ISSN 0305-750X - p. 313 - 322.
    ENGOs - Ethiopia - Participatory forest management - Policy arrangement approach - Policy-making - Semi-authoritarian state
    Much has been written about the increasing contributions of non-governmental actors, such as environmental NGOs (ENGOs), to sustainable development, particularly in forest and environmental governance. However, little empirical evidence exists concerning the role and impact of these new actors in policy decisions where pluralist politics are lacking. By presenting the case of forest policy-making in Ethiopia, this paper illustrates the strategies of ENGOs, and how and to what extent they have impacted policy decisions, in a ‘semi-authoritarian’ context, where public policies are typically the exclusive mandate of governmental actors. We applied the policy arrangement approach (PAA), enriched with an ENGO classification, to analyze and explain the dynamics and nuances of policy processes. Our study finds that ENGOs do have an influence on policy-making under ‘semi-authoritarianism’ even without being formally invited to do so. However, influencing policy under such circumstances requires a circumspect approach and follows more complex pathways than the conventional policy-making steps in a democratic context. When the formal avenue for their participation in the policy-making process is restricted, these actors employ indirect strategies of catalyzing policy processes, such as demonstrating innovative policy approaches by implementing pilot projects, documenting and communicating field evidence and best practices, forming strong networks with like-minded actors, forging alliances with key decision makers, and investing sufficient human and financial resources to push the adoption of a new policy. The findings and the conclusions drawn in this paper are consistent with the conceptual framework employed. The PAA has proved to be a suitable analytical tool to understand and explain policy processes in various polities, from pluralist democracies to (semi-)authoritarianism.
    The Governance of Indigenous Natural Products in Namibia: A Policy Network Analysis
    Ndeinoma, A. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Arts, B.J.M. - \ 2018
    Environmental Management 62 (2018)1. - ISSN 0364-152X - p. 29 - 44.
    At the end of the 20th century, optimism existed that non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can form an integral part in conservation and development strategies. However, there is limited knowledge on how the different
    stakeholders could relate to the state or to each other in promoting commercialization of NTFPs. Applying the policy network as an analytical framework, we investigated the structural patterns of actor relations in the governance structure of indigenous natural products (INPs) in Namibia,
    to understand the implications of such relations on INP policy process. The findings indicate that the INP policy network in Namibia is multi-dimensional, consisting of the Indigenous Plant Task Team (IPTT)—the key governance
    structure for resource mobilization and information sharing;and functional relations which serve specific roles in theINP value chain. The existing relations have facilitated policy development particularly for heavily regulated species,
    such as devil’s claw; but for other species, onlyincremental changes are observed in terms of small-scale processing facilities for value addition and exclusive purchase agreements for sustainable sourcing of INPs. Participation
    of primary producers, private actors and quality standardization bodies is limited in INPs governance structures, which narrow the scope of information sharing.
    Consequently, despite that the IPTT has fostered publicly funded explorative pilot projects, ranging from production to marketing of INPs, there are no clear guidelines how these projects results can be transferred to private entities
    for possible commercialization. Further collaboration and information sharing is needed to guide public sector relations with the private entities and cooperatives.
    From universal to local: perspectives on cultural landscape heritage in South Africa
    Cocks, M. ; Vetter, S. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2018
    International Journal of Heritage Studies 24 (2018)1. - ISSN 1352-7258 - p. 35 - 52.
    The concept of cultural landscapes relates to the multifaceted links between
    people, place and identity. From a professional perspective, the concept
    refers to a category of designated conservation areas with specific biocultural
    heritage values. From a local perspective, it may refer to a landscape that
    is associated with the provision of a culturally-specific sense of identity
    and belonging. We explore these two perspectives through a comparative
    analysis of three cultural landscapes in South Africa, the ‘expert’ designated
    Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Richtersveld Cultural and
    Botanical Landscape, and the local associative landscape of emaXhoseni,
    which is not formally recognised. We propose that a biocultural diversity
    perspective of heritage not only recognises the inextricable relationship
    between nature and culture, but it also gives prominence to the beliefs,
    values and practices of local people, and to strengthening their agency to
    safeguard their heritage in ways and forms that are relevant to them.
    From product to place - Spatializing governance in a commodified landscape
    Oosten, C.J. van; Moeliono, Moira ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2018
    Environmental Management 62 (2018)1. - ISSN 0364-152X - p. 157 - 169.
    This article analyzes the potential for landscape governance in large-scale commodity landscapes in Indonesia.
    It conceptualizes landscape governance as the spatialization of governance, which entails the interplay between natural-spatial conditions of place, public-private actor constellations, and policy responses. The article presents the case of a commodified oil palm landscape in West Kalimantan, where a potentially new type of landscape
    governance is emerging out of the experimental activities of an ecologically responsible commercial enterprise. It describes the development of a multifunctional concession
    as a process of productive bricolage involving the creative combination of different land uses within a single productive space. It also describes how such a multifunctional
    concession does not fit into existing policies, which are sectorally defined and embedded in sticky institutional frames. The formation of new public–private institutional
    arrangements needed for the development of multifunctional concessions is a difficult process, as it requires an alignment of contrasting discourses and an integration of
    sectorally-defined policy frames. If successful, it might facilitate the transition from multifunctional concessions to multifunctional landscapes. Such a fundamental change in
    land use and production relations however requires intensive stakeholder engagement and policy dialog. Indonesia’s continuous decentralization process offers opportunities
    for this, as it increasingly provides institutional space at the landscape level, for public and private actors to explore common concerns, and craft public–private arrangements specific to the landscape.
    Greensurge and Biocultural diversity
    Elands, B.H.M. ; Vierikko, K. ; Niemela, J. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2017
    New Interest in Wild Forest Products in Europe as an Expression of Biocultural Dynamics
    Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2017
    Human Ecology 45 (2017). - ISSN 0300-7839 - p. 787 - 794.
    In Europe, interest in wild forest products is increasing. Such products may be interpreted in a biologicalsense as deriving from autonomously growing forest species or in a biocultural sense as reflecting dynamics in human
    living with biodiversity through re-wilding of earlier domesticated species. In this article I elaborate the idea that the new interests reflect biocultural dynamics. First, I identify these dynamics as involving both domestication and re-wilding and characterize these processes as involving biological, environmental, and cultural dimensions. Next, I present a comparative
    review of two approaches to re-wilding forest production in the Netherlands: meat production from new types of natural grazing systems, and food production from plants reintroduced to the wild. The first approach is based on the stimulation of naturally occurring ecological processes andthe second on the stimulation of new forms of experiencing bio-cultural heritage. The examples demonstrate that the new interests in wild forest products involve both a return to earlier stages of domestication in an ecological sense and a new
    phase of acculturation to evolving socio-cultural conditions.
    Meer producten uit het bos : mogelijkheden voor andere producten dan hout
    Oosterbaan, Anne ; Wiersum, Freerk ; Laar, Jim van - \ 2017
    Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - ISBN 9789463431699 - 67
    Rewilding forest food production
    Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2017
    Reforesting Scotland journal (2017)56. - p. 36 - 37.
    Diversity of governance arrangements for indigenous natural products in communal areas of Namibia
    Ndeinoma, A. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2017
    Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 26 (2017)2. - ISSN 1472-8028 - p. 124 - 141.
    In several countries, it has been observed that development of policies and regulations for non-timber forest products (NTFPs) rarely follows a systematic approach. This paper characterises the diversity of governance arrangements for accessing and marketing indigenous natural products in communal areas of Namibia. Applying concepts from environmental governance, two main types of governance arrangements for accessing NTFPs are distinguished, i.e. community-level self-organised governance and network governance between the state and local communities. Application of the theory of global value chain governance reveals three main types of governance arrangements for accessing NTFP markets. These are: (1) market value chains for coordinating access to informal domestic markets, (2) captive value chains and (3) quasi-hierarchical value chains for accessing global markets. The arrangements for accessing resources and markets are further integrated into three main modes of NTFP governance in Namibia, i.e. network governance with high degree of state involvement; network governance with low degree of state involvement and active involvement of local communities and civil society; and a community-based self-organised governance at local level with dominance of local authorities. Considering this differentiated governance approach, there is scope for the development of an integrated policy framework that recognises NTFPs based on the different governance arrangements.
    Beleefbare natuur: van recreatieve infrastructuur naar bioculturele diversiteit.
    Wiersum, K.F. ; Elands, B.H.M. - \ 2016
    Vakblad Natuur Bos Landschap 2016 (2016)feb. - ISSN 1572-7610 - p. 14 - 17.
    natuur - landschapsbeleving - perceptie - recreatie - biodiversiteit - culturele psychologie - ecosysteemdiensten - natuurwaarde - cultuur - bosbeheer - nature - landscape experience - perception - recreation - biodiversity - cultural psychology - ecosystem services - natural value - culture - forest administration
    Traditioneel richt de aandacht van het bosbeheer voor een beleefbare natuur zich op de ontwikkeling van de recreatieve infrastructuur. Tegenwoordig krijgen ook andere vormen van samenleven met natuur aandacht. Deze ontwikkeling wordt weerspiegeld in het nieuwe begrip “bioculturele diversiteit”.
    Report of case study city portraits : Appendix Green Surge study on urban green infrastructure planning and governance in 20 European case studies
    Hansen, R. ; Buizer, I.M. ; Rall, E. ; DeBellis, Y. ; Elands, B.H.M. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Pauleit, S. - \ 2015
    EU (project Green Surge EU FP7)
    Diversity of governance arrangements for indigenous natural products in communal areas of Namibia
    Wiersum, K.F. ; Ndeinoma, A. - \ 2015
    - p. 1 - 10.
    The concept of non-timber forest product governance has recently been introduced for studying policy processes and dynamics for access, conservation and trade of non-timber forest products. Thisliterature shows that non-timber forest products are mostly embedded within forestry, wildlife and agricultural sectors. Within each sector a different institutional context exists which influence use, management and trade of these products. Few studies so far exists that utilizes political theories to understand the different arrangements (governance arrangements) that emerged within these institutional contexts. This paper uses an institutional theoretical approach to assess governance arrangements for access to resources and markets of seven non-timber forest products in different communal areas of Namibia. Non-timber forest products are commonly referred to indigenous natural products in Namibia. The study showed that governance arrangements for different products are mainly characterized by a co-governance model with varied degree of state involvement. Degree of state involvement is determined by conservation status of indigenous species, tenure systems in which indigenous species are located and the extent of product commercialization. The study also shows that not only the institutional context of the agricultural sector have influenced these governance arrangements but also the but also the different socio-economic and natural trends such as community based natural resource management, processing technology advancement and climate changes. There is therefore a need for a flexible approach to different indigenous natural products in order to allow tailor made mechanisms that are responsive to specific products, tenure forms and markets.
    Policy interpretations and manifestation of biocultural diversity in urbanized Europe: conservation of lived biodiversity
    Elands, B.H.M. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Buijs, A.E. ; Vierikko, K. - \ 2015
    Biodiversity and Conservation 24 (2015)13. - ISSN 0960-3115 - p. 3347 - 3366.
    Biocultural diversity, which refers to the inextricable link between biodiversity and cultural diversity, has been predominantly associated with the traditional ways in which indigenous people in tropical countries interact with the natural environment. But it does not have to be restricted to these circumstances. Biocultural diversity may also be regarded as an interesting concept for understanding how people in industrialized and globalized societies deal with nature. This paper explores biocultural diversity in 20 European cities by considering (i) how biocultural diversity is interpreted in urban planning and governance, and (ii) what actual manifestations of biocultural diversity are present in these cities. Despite the fact that the concept of biocultural diversity was hardly recognized by city authorities, interviewees gave many examples of how biodiversity and cultural diversity are taken into account in (in) formal city policies. The research revealed two main manifestations of biocultural diversity within urban Europe: biocultural diversity grounded in ecological features, and cultural values as a basic foundation for biocultural diversity. Consequently, urban biocultural diversity was found to have two spatial levels: the city level and the site level. The former is the domain of governmental policy makers who discuss biocultural diversity in ‘green space networks’ in a rather static way. The latter is the domain where citizens participate in decisionmaking and the management of green spaces; it is here that cultural dynamics are most acknowledged.
    Biocultural diversity in Europe: connecting people to nature from tropical regions to European urban areas..
    Elands, B.H.M. ; Buizer, I.M. ; Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2014
    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.
    Tropical forest transitions: structural changes in forest area, composition and landscape
    Wiersum, K.F. - \ 2014
    CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 9 (2014)018. - ISSN 1749-8848
    Most studies on tropical forest dynamics focus on the processes of deforestation and forest degradation and its associated ecological impacts; comparatively little attention is given to the emergence of forest transitions. This review gives an overview of forest transitions in the tropics as involving a structural reversal from a decreasing to expanding forest area as well as related changes in forest quality and forest landscape. After introducing the concept of forest transition it first summarizes the changing forest area in tropical countries. It then discusses how the identification of a forest transition greatly depends on how forests are defined. Three types of forests with contrasting forest composition are distinguished, i.e. natural forests, modified forests and transformed forests, and forest transitions are characterized as involving either forest conversion or forest restoration. Next, forest transitions are related to changes in forested landscapes and described as involving either forest extension at a retracting agricultural frontier or incorporation of forests in forested mosaic landscapes. These processes are driven by either macro-scale socio-ecological feedbacks or socio-economic changes or by location-specific development of rural forests as part of farming intensification. This paper concludes that forest transitions do not just involve a return of natural forests and/or extension of forest plantations on forest lands, but also a multidimensional co-evolution in social and ecological conditions involving an increasing incorporation of socialized forests in forested landscapes.
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