Biocultural Diversity Toolkit

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What is Biocultural Diversity, why does it matter, and what can you do to support its continued vitality for the future of humanity and all life on earth? You can find some of the answers and learn about some of the available tools and approaches in the pages of Terralingua’s publication, the Biocultural Diversity Toolkit.

Since 1996, Terralingua has spearheaded research and applied work that have helped forge an integrated biocultural perspective on nature conservation and sustainable development: an approach that respects diversity in both nature and culture, and that recognizes the inextricable link between humans and the natural environment as vital to achieving human development in balance with nature. There are many hopeful signs of growing awareness of the critical importance of biocultural diversity for the vitality and resilience of our planet. Yet, stemming the continued erosion of our life systems in both nature and culture requires a decisive effort to communicate, educate, share insights, and promote a new vision for human futures.

1 | An Introduction to Biocultural Diversity
A Primer on the concept of biocultural diversity and its relevance in policy and practice for sustaining the diversity of life in nature and culture.

2 | Assessing the State of the World’s Languages
An introduction to the world’s linguistic diversity and the use of Terralingua’s Index of Linguistic Diversity (ILD) to track changes over time in the numbers of mother-tongue speakers of the world’s languages.

4 | Documenting and Revitalizing Oral Traditions
An introduction to the importance of documenting and transmitting place-based oral traditions and traditional knowledge for the conservation of nature (including sacred natural sites), and to relevant tools and methodologies.

5 | Biocultural Approaches to Conservation & Development
An overview of biocultural approaches to community-based development, the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, and of some of the relevant tools and methodologies.

That’s the effort the Toolkit aims to contribute to. By bringing together several results of our work, as well as by drawing from collaborations with key partners, we have assembled this unique publication, to help increase understanding of the complex changes that are weakening the biocultural fabric of life, and to foster action to counter this trend. The Toolkit’s five volumes, which you can download here for your perusal, are conceived as handy and attractive resources for communities, organizations, researchers, professionals, policy makers, and the general public.

In the volumes, you’ll find an introduction to biocultural diversity, followed by perspectives and tools relevant to the assessment, documentation, and conservation of key aspects of biocultural diversity: linguistic diversity, traditional knowledge systems, and Indigenous oral traditions. The fifth volume covers various biocultural frameworks and approaches relevant to biodiversity conservation and human development. We hope you’ll find these volumes instructive and useful!

For further information on the Toolkit, please contact Terralingua’s Director Dr. Luisa Maffi.

For additional information on the Terralingua projects that contributed to the production of the Toolkit, please visit Our Work.

Terralingua’s Biocultural Diversity Toolkit project was funded by the Swift Foundation, whose support is gratefully acknowledged.

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