Biocultural diversity in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia: Threats and opportunities
Barnes, P. and Djaffar Ahmad, R. (2018). Biocultural diversity in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia: Threats and opportunities. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107374
© the Authors, 2018
The dominant model of conservation since the late 19th century has been creation of protected areas and use of charismatic ‘umbrella’ species to garner donor support and funding for externally conceived conservation ‘interventions’ or ‘projects’. Such policies influence the lives of millions of people yet western-centric species prioritisation and the separation of people and nature many protected areas impose is being increasingly challenged. Although there has been a broad shift in dominant opinion on how conservation should be implemented, the full spectrum of management techniques can still be seen in contemporary conservation. Such diverse policies can be seen throughout New Guinea and are implemented within a broader context of rapid population growth and cultural change. This is altering the social, political and economic circumstances of natural resource users and causing breakdown of traditional environmental taboos and management practices, ultimately leading to a greatly diminished set of relations between people and nature. In addition, a major problem for threatened species conservation is lack of basic baseline information. This means making even rudimentary management decisions can be problematic, causing inefficient use of limited conservation resources. One possible solution is to use local knowledge. Whilst local people may lack scientific training, they do in many cases hold alternative forms of detailed understanding about their local environment. Under certain conditions this can provide essential baseline information where conventional scientific surveys are costly or difficult to implement. Furthermore, it provides an entry point for dialogue between conservationists and local people and with careful consideration begins to shift the balance of power toward that of local communities as the knowledge holders for their local environment. The Cyclops Mountains is a small mountain range on the north coast of New Guinea characterised by high cultural and biological diversity. In recognition of the areas unique biodiversity and critical watershed ecosystem services, it is designated an IUCN Category I(a) protected area containing a variety of endemic and restricted range species. With designation of the protected area came dispossession of rights for indigenous and local populations. This expulsion of human interaction rooted in the broader context described above, has led to a greatly diminished set of relations between people and nature, undermining the very bedrock of biocultural diversity in the area. We will present our findings from a dataset of local knowledge collected about animals of The Cyclops Mountains. We demonstrate the extent to which local knowledge can provide novel insights into status of threatened species and question the assumptions of conservation policy in the area suggesting how a more nuanced understanding is essential if we are to promote human-environmental wellbeing. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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