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INTEGRATING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE OF BIRDS INTO CONSERVATION PLANNING IN NEW GUINEA $100.00
Authors:  William H. Thomas
Abstract:
It has been difficult to integrate indigenous knowledge into
conservation planning. Although indigenous naturalists have accumulated
generations of observations concerning their environments, stereotypes
concerning their relationship to nature have frustrated attempts to involve
indigenous societies in conservation. However, unencumbered by western
philosophy, indigenous naturalists have been developing a dynamic view
of nature that incorporates connectedness, disturbance and recovery as a
normal course of events in the natural world. This non-linear view of
nature has only recently emerged as scientific consensus. In this article, I
argue that communication between conservationists and indigenous
people can be facilitated by using indigenous knowledge of birds to
identify the impacts of tradition on biodiversity. Birds are a commonly
acknowledged indicator of biodiversity. Because indigenous people have
long-range perspective on the effects of human activity on avian
diversity, they can provide a perspective vital to conservation planning.
Drawing on ethno-ecological fieldwork with the Hewa of Papua New
Guinea, this paper presents an indigenous perspective on the effects of traditional activities on birds. The Hewa describe their traditions as
shaping the environment by creating a mosaic of habitats of varying
diversity. I argue that the while the current lifestyle of the Hewa may not
necessarily be a template for future sustainability, the Hewa view of the
natural world provides insights into the potential of indigenous people to
conserve their resources. 


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INTEGRATING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE OF BIRDS INTO CONSERVATION PLANNING IN NEW GUINEA