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Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Shifting Agriculture of Bulang People in Yunnan, China

By Lun Yin, Misiani Zachary, Yanyan Zheng, Xiaohan Zhang, Antonine Sakwa

Land-use and land-cover changes directly impact biological diversity, and may cause land degradation by altering ecosystem services and livelihood support systems, thereby disrupting the socio-cultural practices and institutions associated with managing those biophysical systems. The most important is the gradual disappearance of human’s traditional ecological knowledge and cultural diversity. Xishuangbanna is one of regions that have the richest biodiversity and cultural diversity in the world. In recent years, academic scholars, government departments at different levels and media have increasingly paid close attention on the relationship between rubber cultivation and biodiversity in Xishuangbanna. However, such attention on the relationship between rubber plantation and cultural diversity is few. Conclusively, social and cultural practice on natural resource management carried out by local people and relevant institutions are greatly changing in the context of implementing rubber plantation. During this process, traditional ecological knowledge is also experiencing changes. The paper will elaborate impacts from the rubber plantation on Bulang society in Xishuangbanna, explore changes on local subsistence, social and cultural practice and relevant institutions, and further analyze relationships between the rubber plantation, cultural diversity and traditional ecological knowledge, and threats and challenges faced by Bulang people. Through the case study of Bulang people, we see that the traditional ecological knowledge not only includes natural resource management and genetic resource protection, but also recognition of ethnical identities and heritage of biological and cultural diversity.

Release date    

Jun. 8, 2020




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