Focus on Biocultural Diversity

What is Biocultural diversity?

Biocultural diversity is the total variety of the world’s cultures and natural environments.

Their co-evolution over time has generated local ecological knowledge and practice: a vital reservoir of experience, understanding and skills that helps communities to manage their resources now and in the future.

The loss of biocultural diversity impacts the ability of local communities to adapt to global changes. This cultural transformation diminishes alternative ways of viewing the world and reduces the range of potential solutions to common problems confronting humankind.

Where does Biocultural diversity come from?

Biocultural diversity is derived from the myriad ways in which humans have interacted with their environments.

Over generations different societies have developed a startling array of methods for managing their natural surroundings, some of which ensure minimal environmental impact and the sustainability of resource use.

Diverse worldviews, philosophies and ethical approaches to life have emerged in tandem with this co-evolution of nature and culture.

Why does Biocultural diversity matter?

We realise that the loss of biodiversity endangers human and environment health. It is less well known that the decline of cultural and linguistic diversity poses a similar threat to our future.

Current patterns of biological and cultural diversity give us insights into the interactions between people and their environment from prehistory until the present.

The environmental knowledge and practice that local communities have developed holds a key to our understanding of ecosystem management and the effective conservation of biodiversity in the future.

Globalisation is contributing to environmental degradation, cultural homogenization and the disappearance of languages.

his depletes our repertoire of adaptive responses to global changes in climate, economy and society. It also hastens the disappearance of the variety of ways of interpreting
and expressing the human experience that make our world a rich place to live.

It is our responsibility to ensure that globalisation is compatible with diversity.