Indigenous Peoples and Biocultural Conservation 

Understanding the conservation values of the landscapes traditionally owned, used or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) is central to implementation of several global environmental agreements. Our work explores the unique contributions of IPLCs in safeguarding a substantial proportion of our world’s biodiversity, and the importance of their knowledge systems in environmental governance from the local to the global. 

Based on our long-term ethnographic engagement with different Indigenous groups across the Tropics (e.g., Bolivia, Kenya, Madagascar), we are examining how effective are Indigenous lands in safeguarding biological and cultural diversity, and the use of participatory tools (e.g., storytelling) for a greater inclusion of IPLCs in conservation pursuits. Our work spans from advanced geospatial analyses of Indigenous land tenure at regional and global scales to field-based ethnoecological studies of local biocultural systems, including also hands-on action for the documentation and revitalization of biocultural heritage. 

Projects and Researchers

  • Biocultural conservation and storytelling / Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares

Key references 

  • Fernández-Llamazares, Á., Cabeza, M. 2018. Rediscovering the Potential of Indigenous Storytelling for Conservation Practice. Conservation Letters 11(3): e12398. doi: 10.1111/conl.12398 
  • Garnett, S., Burgess, N.D., Fa, J.E., Fernández-Llamazares, Á., Molnár, Z., Robinson, C.J., Watson, J.E.M., Zander, K.K., Austin, B., Brondizio, E.S., Collier, N.F., Duncan, T., Ellis, E., Geyle, H., Jackson, M.V., Jonas, H., Malmer, P., McGowan, B., Sivongxay, A., Leiper, I. 2018. A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation. Nature Sustainability 1: 369–374. doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0100-6 
  • Mwamidi, D.M., Renom, J.G., Fernández-Llamazares, Á., Burgas, D., Domínguez, P., Cabeza, M. 2018. Contemporary pastoral commons in East Africa as OECMs: A case study from the Daasanach community. PARKS 24: 79–88. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.CH.2018.PARKS‐24‐SIDMM.en 
  • Vuola, M., Pyhälä, A. 2016. Local community perceptions of conservation policy: rights, recognition and reactions. Madagascar Conservation and Development 11(2): 77-86.