Local ecological knowledge also comes "from books": cultural change, landscape transformation and conservation of biodiversity in two natural protected areas in Portugal
Ana Maria Carvalho (Escola Superior Agrária Bragança)
Maria Elisabete Martins (CEAS-Centro Estudos Antropologia Social)
Paper short abstract:
Using ethnographic and ethnobotanical data from research in two Portuguese natural protected areas this paper discusses the political aims of biodiversity and cultural preservation in rural contexts that face social and economical changes.
Paper long abstract:
The study of social and economic change and the consequent landscape transformation in Parque Natural de Montesinho and Parque Natural de Douro Internacional (in the Northeast of Portugal) allows us to discuss the ambivalent relation between the political aims of biodiversity preservation and social reality in protected rural areas. Ethnographic research of plants uses and nature discourses together with an analysis of social differentiation (in terms of age, gender and schooling) of ethnobotanical knowledge show us the dynamic way local people combine traditional and orally transmitted knowledge with popular or then scientific exogenous ecological knowledge, especially that learned from the media and books. This data allows us to reflect also about the way local culture in the context of protected areas is transformed into heritage.
Societies and protected areas