Special Issue "Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Tourism, Culture, and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 May 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Shonil Bhagwat
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
Interests: biocultural diversity studies; resilience of agriculture and food systems; geographies of the Anthropocene
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biocultural diversity is the “diversity of life in all of its manifestations: biological, cultural, and linguistic, which are interrelated (and possibly coevolved) within a complex socio-ecological adaptive system” (Maffi 2007: 269). These different types of diversity often correspond with each other and are concentrated in certain parts of the world. For example, a global analysis has suggested that Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Melanesia are three regions of the world that are rich in biological, cultural and linguistic diversity (Loh and Harmon 2005).

At the local scale, biocultural diversity has historically originated and is maintained through a variety of nature-based indigenous cultural traditions. The cultural values of the natural environment, however, are also often embraced by non-indigenous communities promoting the conservation biocultural diversity around the world (Cocks 2006). The loss of this diversity is a global concern because the cultural practices and traditions that have historically promoted natural resource stewardship among indigenous and non-indigenous communities both have weakened in the wake of rapid modernisation and increasing planetary footprint of human activities (WWF 2016).

Simultaneously, the ethos of ‘living within one’s means’ has also gained prominence in defining the relationship of humans with the natural world. Over the last three decades, this has reflected in the wide-ranging discussions on sustainability, from the Brundtland Report (WCED 1987) to planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009). Declared in 2015, the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and Targets for 2030 (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) have brought the world’s attention to the economically less-developed countries, many of which are rich in biocultural diversity but are facing its rapid depletion. How can these global goals promote the conservation of biocultural diversity, and equally, how can the conservation of biocultural diversity help in meeting these goals?

This Special Issue invites papers that help explore the challenges and opportunities in conserving biocultural diversity and in meeting UN sustainable development goals. It will add a new dimension to the discussions that are taking place at the cross-section between biocultural diversity and sustainability.

Dr. Shonil A Bhagwat
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

References:

Cocks, Michelle (2006) Biocultural Diversity: Moving Beyond the Realm of ‘Indigenous’ and ‘Local’ People. Human Ecology 34(2): 185-200.

Loh, J. and D. Harmon (2005) A global index of biocultural diversity. Ecological Indicators 5: 231–241.

Maffi, Luisa (2007) Biocultural diversity and sustainability. In Jules Pretty et al. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Environment and Society, Sage, UK. p. 267-277.

Rockström, J; Steffen, WL; Noone, K; Persson, Å; Chapin III, FS; Lambin, EF; Lenton, TM; Scheffer, M; et al. (2009), "Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity" (PDF), Ecology and Society, 14 (2): 32

WCED (1987) Our common future. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. G. H. Brundtland, (Ed.). Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

WWF. 2016. Living Planet Report 2016. Risk and resilience in a new era. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland

 

Keywords

  • biodiversity hotspots
  • cultural values
  • indigenous peoples
  • natural resource stewardship
  • social-ecological systems
  • planetary boundaries
  • sustainable Development Goals

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Conserving Biocultural Diversity through Community–Government Interaction: A Practice-Based Approach in a Brazilian Extractive Reserve
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010032 - 21 Dec 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1873
Abstract
We examined how community–government interaction may promote or hinder the conservation of biocultural diversity. Research was done with the extractive community of the Reserva Extrativista Riozinho da Liberdade, located in the state of Acre, Brazil. The reserve is governed by ICMBio, a Brazilian [...] Read more.
We examined how community–government interaction may promote or hinder the conservation of biocultural diversity. Research was done with the extractive community of the Reserva Extrativista Riozinho da Liberdade, located in the state of Acre, Brazil. The reserve is governed by ICMBio, a Brazilian governmental organisation overseeing reserve policy implementation. This paper describes the interaction between ICMBio and the inhabitants of Riozinho da Liberdade. A Practice-Based Approach was used as a theoretical scope to look at the interaction on a practical level. It was found that ICMBio tried to develop the living standards of community members in various ways, for example, by offering suggestions for the improvement of livelihoods, and by proposing alternatives for consumptive behaviour. Although the relationship between ICMBio and the community was generally valued by community members, this did not always equal compliance with ICMBio’s rules, or responsiveness to ICBMIO’s suggestions for development. Our results show that although compliance was often suboptimal from a government perspective, biocultural diversity may still be reproduced through close interaction between community and government, and thus conserved. As such, our investigation provides counterweight to the abundant empirical evidence on the harmful social consequences of government interference in local nature governance. A main methodological insight of our work is that a Practice-Based Approach enabled us to detect (non-)compliant behaviour that would have otherwise likely gone unnoticed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability)
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Article
Online and Offline Representations of Biocultural Diversity: A Political Ecology Perspective on Nature-Based Tourism and Indigenous Communities in the Brazilian Pantanal
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3643; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103643 - 11 Oct 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2294
Abstract
The concept of biocultural diversity is confronted with contemporary changes that impact on local communities, such as globalization and digital transformations. Engaging the conceptual flexibility of ‘biocultural diversity’, we studied nature-based tourism at the intersection of indigenous communities and the digital realm. We [...] Read more.
The concept of biocultural diversity is confronted with contemporary changes that impact on local communities, such as globalization and digital transformations. Engaging the conceptual flexibility of ‘biocultural diversity’, we studied nature-based tourism at the intersection of indigenous communities and the digital realm. We employed a political ecology perspective to examine online and offline representations of biocultural diversity in the Brazilian Pantanal, one of the biggest wetlands in the world, and home to groups of peoples known as the Pantaneiros. Data from interviews with 48 stakeholders in the tourist sector were structured along three ‘myths’—the Uncivilised, Unrestrained, and Unchanged—for which we have also constructed counter narratives. Each myth denoted the primacy of biodiversity, and ignored broader dimensions of the Pantanal as a bioculturally diverse landscape. The relationships of the Pantaneiros with their environment were found to be intricate and had clear repercussions for tourism, but ironically, reference to the Pantaneiro culture in nature-based tourism was superficial. Moreover, thriving on the myths, this form of tourism perpetuates skewed power structures and social inequalities. Lower-class Pantaneiros likely suffer most from this. We recommend stakeholder engagement with a biocultural design that facilitates the integration of other-than-biodiversity values, and that thereby promotes sustainability of the entire social-ecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability)

Review

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Review
Effective Biodiversity Conservation Requires Dynamic, Pluralistic, Partnership-Based Approaches
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1846; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061846 - 02 Jun 2018
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 6100
Abstract
Biodiversity loss undermines the long-term maintenance of ecosystem functions and the well-being of human populations. Global-scale policy initiatives, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, have failed to curb the loss of biodiversity. This failure has led to contentious debates over alternative solutions that [...] Read more.
Biodiversity loss undermines the long-term maintenance of ecosystem functions and the well-being of human populations. Global-scale policy initiatives, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, have failed to curb the loss of biodiversity. This failure has led to contentious debates over alternative solutions that represent opposing visions of value-orientations and policy tools at the heart of conservation action. We review these debates and argue that they impede conservation progress by wasting time and resources, overlooking common goals, failing to recognize the need for diverse solutions, and ignoring the central question of who should be involved in the conservation process. Breaking with the polarizing debates, we argue that biocultural approaches to conservation can guide progress toward just and sustainable conservation solutions. We provide examples of the central principles of biocultural conservation, which emphasize the need for pluralistic, partnership-based, and dynamic approaches to conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability)
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Other

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Opinion
Green Roofs and Green Walls for Biodiversity Conservation: A Contribution to Urban Connectivity?
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040985 - 27 Mar 2018
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 5163
Abstract
Green roofs and walls have recently emerged as conservation tools, and they offer promising additional opportunities to enhance biodiversity in cities. However, their ecological conditions remain poorly considered when planning wildlife corridors. To discuss the role of vegetated buildings in landscape connectivity, we [...] Read more.
Green roofs and walls have recently emerged as conservation tools, and they offer promising additional opportunities to enhance biodiversity in cities. However, their ecological conditions remain poorly considered when planning wildlife corridors. To discuss the role of vegetated buildings in landscape connectivity, we reviewed the ecological and technical specificities of green walls and green roofs in light of the key factors concerning urban wildlife (patch size, quality, abundance, and isolation). Green roofs and walls show limited patch sizes, distinct habitat quality at the building scale, and limited redundancy of patch quality within the landscape. We also highlight that the abundance of roof and wall patches is often low. Future research is needed to establish if walls can be vertical corridors for wildlife, thereby reducing the isolation of green roofs. We argue that creating 3D ecological connectivity within the city requires substantial modifications of the design and maintenance of existing green building systems. We suggest that research is needed to integrate the biotic and abiotic characteristics of green buildings to make them more closely resemble those of open green spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocultural Diversity and Sustainability)
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