Monday, July 22, 2013

Scientists seek out forest traditions in climate change fight

Barbara Fraser in Forests News: How is a raised garden of cassava plants deep in the Brazilian Amazon like the neck of an early European violin?

Both are products of traditional knowledge that has helped people adapt to a changing world since the dawn of humankind, said researchers at the Third Latin American Congress of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) in San José, Costa Rica.

As climate change threatens the livelihoods of forest people, scientists said they are tuning their ears to the myths, stories and songs with which people hand down traditional forest-related knowledge from generation to generation.

“There is growing awareness of the value and complementary roles of traditional knowledge and formal scientific knowledge,” John Parrotta, the U.S. Forest Service’s national research program leader for international science issues said in a presentation on during a panel discussion.

Traditional forest-related knowledge stems from people’s relationship with the land, which is an important part of their identity, said Parrotta, who is a member of IUFRO’s board of directors and co-editor, with Ronald Trosper of the University of Arizona, of “Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems and Biocultural Diversity,” which explores the ways in which people around the world use traditional knowledge…

Francesco Bassano the Younger, Orpheus charming the animals, 16th century

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