Cultural Diversity and Biodiversity

Marie Roué, Editorial Adviser, March 2006, Blackwell publishing and UNESCO

Issue 187 - March 2006

Marie Roué, Editorial Adviser

The relations between cultural diversity and biodiversity often seems little more than a vague analogy. They take on a much more specific meaning when biodiversity produced over time by human action is regarded as a manifestation of the diversity of cultures. Cultural diversity is thus an essential basis for worldwide action in favour of sustainable development. But to be able to manage something one must first know what it is. This issue investigates the relations between local and indigenous societies and nature from the Philippines to Benin, from sub-arctic to Melanesia, and from Thailand to France. The articles focus on hybrid objects which are at the same time natural and cultural, and stand at the limit between the domestic and the wild: Local varieties and breeds, localized production processes, and landscapes modified by societies which qualify as both natural and cultural. The relations between cultural diversity and biodiversity also make it necessary to ground sustainable development in the voices of those concerned. The articles in this issue are therefore polyphonic: they combine the voices of the Saamis, Karen, Ifugao, Benin, and Cévenols as indigenous peoples, researchers, and politicians, with the voices of environmental anthropologists and sociologists.

Most of the authors in this issue participated in the workshop, "Biological diversity, cultural diversity: issues relating to local knowledge" organized by Douglas Nakashima and Marie Roué within the framework of the international conference, "Biodiversity, science, and governance" held at UNESCO from 24-28 January 2005.


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