Conférence internationale Biodiversité: science et gouvernance Atelier 13 - Diversité biologique, diversité culturelle : Enjeux autour des savoirs locaux 27 janvier 2005 BIODIVERSITY, TRADITIONAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND LIVELIHOODS Fikret Berkes To conserve biodiversity, we need to understand how human cultures shape landscapes and interact with them. To a large extent, world’s biodiversity depends on maintaining resource use that facilitates the continued renewal of ecosystems. The use of non-timber forest product by indigenous peoples in the Canadian subarctic offers alternative ways of conceiving biodiversity conservation that brings together biodiversity, traditional management systems and livelihoods. Forests are no longer viewed as merely a source of timber, but rather as ecosystems that provide timber, medicinal plants, foods, craft materials and recreational opportunities. To manage such a system of production, new questions need to be raised, such as what constraints exist and what institutional changes are required. Some of these questions have been considered by work in traditional ecological knowledge and management systems. Ecosystem-based forest management means protecting the integrity, health and resilience of ecosystems. It does not focus primarily on resources but rather on the sustainability of ecosystem processes necessary to provide these resources. Traditional management systems may resemble contemporary scientific ecosystem management, such as the practice of the Kayapo people of Brazil who initiate processes of forest succession. By creating forest islands in the grasslands, the Kayapo people demonstrate their knowledge of the relationship between disturbance and forest succession. The challenge is to achieve both biodiversity conservation and human-well being. Often, only one of these goals dominates. For example, involving local communities in conservation is often used as a way to make conservation measures more acceptable, but the ultimate objective remains one of conservation. Management approaches that explicitly address both conservation and livelihoods objectives are less common. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, such approaches - called “integrated responses” - may include a range of instruments such as multi-stakeholder processes, decentralization and devolution policies, partnerships and networks, and multiple institutions and actors. The participatory management needed in such integrated responses is not achieved only through community-based systems. Resources tend to be used also by competing communities and user-groups, and there are cross-scale linkages between communities and other levels of governance. Institutional interplay draws attention to the linkages among institutions, both at the same level of social and political organization and across levels. It includes the linkage of institutions horizontally (across geographical space) and vertically (across levels of organization). The concept of institutional interplay expands the notion of comanagement that is often conceived as a simple two-way linkage between a unitary government and the community.