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2018 Conference

Dr. Fikret Berkes

“Biocultural Approaches and Community-based Conservation”

Tuesday, July 24th - Opening Keynote

Watch keynote presentation

Biocultural Approaches and Community-based Conservation
Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba, Canada

Trends in biodiversity conservation indicate increasing use of participatory approaches such as community-based conservation, co-management, community-conserved areas, and biocultural principles. Biodiversity conservation “by, for, and with the local community” (Western and Wright) requires attention to holistic views of people and nature, and local and traditional knowledge. The basic idea behind biocultural approaches, as part of community-based conservation, is the two-way relationship between biological diversity and cultural diversity. Biocultural approaches may be illustrated in (1) local conceptualizations of human-nature relations, as in Hawai’ian ahupua’a and Japanese sato-umi; (2) protected area co-management, such as the LMMA network in Fiji; and (3) a diversity of social-ecological restoration projects. Lessons from these various cases indicate that working with local peoples fosters stewardship ethics and cultural connections to the land, and satisfying local livelihood needs creates conservation incentives. Biocultural conservation planning often deals with multiple objectives, involves partnerships, uses local knowledge, and may rely on adaptive management and multi-level governance.

Dr. Fikret Berkes is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Canada. Dr. Berkes is at the forefront in developing and applying a range of interrelated concepts and approaches that have become essential to current thinking about communities and conservation: social-ecological resilience, commons, co-management, and local and traditional ecological knowledge. He has authored some 250 peer-reviewed journal papers and chapters. His ten books include: Sacred Ecology (4th edition, Routledge, 2018); Coasts for People (Routledge, 2015); and Navigating Social–Ecological Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He has participated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the UNDP Equator Initiative, and the IPBES. Dr. Berkes is the recipient of the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America (2014), the Elinor Ostrom Award for Senior Scholar of the International Association for the Study of Commons (2015), and the International Conservation Union IUCN-CEESP Inaugural Award for Meritorious Research (2016).

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