What is the relationship between sacred places and biodiversity? Project Director Toby McLeod reports on a three-month research project by six U.C. Berkeley students…
The Sarayaku living forest is an incredibly rich and biodiverse place, with one adjacent region, Yasuni National Park, being described by primatologist Anthony Di Fiore as “the most diverse area in South America, and possibly the world” (Revkin, 2010). The last line of defense between this living forest and the oil companies who seek to encroach on it are the indigenous peoples who continue to fight to preserve the forest from the ravages of resource extraction.
In Australia’s Northern Territory, Fish River Station protects a stretch of the biodiverse Daly River, where fresh and saltwater crocodiles swim in billabongs bordered by rainforest and savanna woodland. Fish River Station illustrates how indigenous-owned and managed land and traditional ecological knowledge can enable large-scale conservation and biodiversity protection.
In the lush rainforests of Borneo, indigenous communities are working to create a new protected area, the Baram Peace Park, to protect biodiversity and traditional cultures and resist the ravages of palm oil and mega dams.
A long history of living on the land has granted the Sámi people a rich bank of traditional ecological knowledge enabling them to maintain, protect, and restore the environment’s inherent biodiversity. There are multiple cases where the Sámi have protected the biodiversity of their homeland, both through active preservation and through legal protections that have resulted in maintenance of biodiversity and the cultural traditions that protect and support the land.
Ghana’s sacred groves are rich pockets of biodiverse forest found amidst increasingly developed lands. The Groves have been and continue to be maintained by the local indigenous peoples who vigilantly protect and monitor the groves through complex traditional institutions.
The Amskapi Piikani or the Blackfeet Nation in Montana have cared for the lands in northwestern Montana since time immemorial. Their relationship to these lands has maintained the high levels of biodiversity found on their reservation and on lands to the west in Glacier National Park and the Badger Two Medicine Area.