Category Archives: On Biocultural Diversity

On Violence to Defenders of Indigenous Territories

We began the New Year by celebrating Indonesia’s landmark recognition of the rights of nine Indigenous communities to their ancestral forests. Today, we are devastated by the assassination of Isidro Baldenegro López, the second Goldman Prize winner and bright spark — after Berta Cáceres — to be extinguished by dark forces.
In the strongest terms, […]

Biocultural Community Protocols

The legal landscape of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities is coalescing around the protection of their traditional knowledge and genetic resources. In contexts such as access and benefit sharing (ABS) and Ethical BioTrade, there are effective new tools such as community protocols that can help begin the process of relationship-building between researchers, […]

Pots, Bananas, and Gourds: Food and Farming in PNG’s Markham Valley

The clay pot (or gur) has long been a central feature of the cultures of Papua New Guinea’s Markham Valley, such as that of the Adzera people. These pots are superior for cooking bananas, a staple of traditional diets in this area and a central element of life in the seasonal savannah environment of the […]

Ob Umed, Bringing Hope—and Water—to the People of Tajikistan

A few weeks ago, I went to New York to see Tajik NGO Ob Umed (“Water is Hope”) awarded the United Nations Development Program’s 2014 Equator Prize for community-based sustainable development solutions. This organization is bringing traditional methods of water management back to the Pamir Mountains, one of the highest, driest, and longest-inhabited mountain ranges […]

Ethiopia: Of Birds, Biodiversity and Development

Although the words biodiversity and development often seem to make a bad pair, people and birds continue to thrive together in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, sharing the benefits of this rich landscape and shaping each other’s fortunes. This co-evolution and cohabitation is central to the biocultural diversity of the region. And wise and respectful stewardship of […]