News & Views

A Beautiful Biocultural Landscape

A biocultural landscape is a geographic area bounded both by its physical features and by the human understanding in which its geologic, topographic, hydrologic, biological, economic and cultural elements are understood. It is a way of viewing these elements as part of an intertwined holistic system that has been shaped by human management over long periods of time. This Ethiopian farmer and his ancestors have worked with water, for example, guiding it through this landscape, and through cultural practices evolved over generations he has helped to establish an agro-ecological system that fairly distributes water between fields, people and animals, deploying both physical interventions like canals alongside ritual and cultural practices to ensure fair water distribution and future rains. In this way, memory and identity become ingrained in the land and waters, and biodiversity is shaped and included in artful ways.

Credit: Nicolas Villaume