Ethnobiology and human adaptation to biodiversity change: concepts and methods applied to a study of herder responses to Lantana camara L.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 13:00
, Rajindra - Centre for Biocultural Diversity, University of Kent

Across the planet, species are being lost or changing their ranges rapidly, leading to possibly major changes in human-ecosystem processes. Climate change is one of several interacting drivers of change. People must adapt to such change, and the ways they adapt will affect ecosystems and biodiversity, and human well-being. This presentation examines the importance of knowledge in responses to change, through a study of Indian cattle herders responses to Lantana camara, which now dominates their forest understory. Important knowledge includes the characteristics of the biodiversity that is changing, how it's changing and why, and how these changes affect other types of biodiversity and ecosystem processes at various scales. Our work in India demonstrates that knowledge change can be both cause and consequence of biodiversity change. This co-evolving and modular character of knowledge systems makes human adaptation to changes in biodiversity a more complex issue than one might first imagine.