Conservation Innovation: From Grassroots to Governments
Convened by: Nicola Arcilla, Maris Strazds, Shan Su, Sandra Goded
As conservation biologists, we focus on mitigating the current extinction crisis that threatens species and ecosystems worldwide (1). At the same time, an estimated half of the world’s languages have gone extinct over the last 500 years, and many extant languages are in danger of extinction (2), providing an example of how the fates of both biological and human cultural diversity may be entwined. As such, we seek to bring together and build a network of scientists interested in collaborative innovation for conservation based on the deep connections between biological and human cultural diversity. We will share grassroots examples of solutions to stemming the tide of homogenization through increasing exploitation and commodification of the world’s species and natural systems that threaten biological diversity as well as human cultural diversity. We will kick off the workshop with four short presentations on experiences with cultural traditions that can contribute to conservation focused on birds, including examples from Spain and Latvia as well as Africa and Amazonia. These include work with indigenous Jivaro people working to protect and sustainably manage a large area of primary forest and its birds in northern Peru, and whose cultural heritage includes a large number of traditional stories of birds as messengers to and helpers of people (3). Likewise, European, African, and other cultures have a rich cultural inheritance where animals and plants play key roles in human well-being. How can we take inspiration from cultural traditions celebrating biodiversity and use these for conservation innovation, propelling the conservation movement forward and protecting unique species and areas into the future? We present examples of successful conservation collaborations inspired by cultural traditions, and ask workshop participants to come with their own stories to share, creating new collaborations and bringing together salient experiences we can use to advance conservation.
1. Thomas JA, Telfer MG, Roy DB et al.. 2004. Comparative losses of British butterflies, birds, and plants and the global extinction crisis. Science 303: 1879-1881.
2. Krauss, M. 1992. The world's languages in crisis. Language 68: 4-10.
3. Dauphine N, Tsamajain-Yagkuag S, Cooper RJ. 2008. Bird conservation in Aguaruna-Jivaro communities in the Cordillera de Colan, Peru. Ornitologia Neotropical 19S: 587-594.