A Kingdom of Deities: Spiritual Landscapes, Protected Areas, and the Role of Conservation Mapping in Bhutan

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 10:30
, David - University of Georgia (UGA), International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE)

As conservation scientists increasingly address human beliefs and values, greater attention is being given to spiritual landscapes and sacred sites.  In the Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, the omnipresence of sacred sites and beliefs in local deity realms have led select conservation organizations to create programs that consider ways to align beliefs in sacred sites with goals of environmental conservation.  Many prominent conservation projects in Bhutan include avian conservation priorities, particularly for species like the Black-necked crane and White-bellied Heron, at a time when institutional interest in spatial mapping tools (GIS) for monitoring species movement and home range are rapidly growing.  In my research, I will explore how local conceptualizations of sacred/deity space relate to and interact with institutionally prioritized avian conservation space through the proxy of emerging spatial technologies and collaborative mapping techniques.