Bio-cultural landscapes are holistic systems of culture and nature that have been shaped by human management over long periods of time. They maintain ecosystem health, utilize traditional knowledge, protect biodiversity, provide cultural value, build healthy soils, enhance resilience, nourish agriculture, fisheries, and forests, and mitigate climate change.
From the Saami in Europe, to the Maori in New Zealand, indigenous communities are creating and maintaining rich bio-cultural landscapes. A bio-cultural landscape is a holistic system of culture and nature that has been shaped by human management over long periods of time.
Food Tank produced a video highlighting how bio-cultural landscapes can benefit the health of both people and the planet. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide. Native peoples practice holistic agriculture, mixing diverse livestock and crop varieties in an integrated farming landscape. They grow traditional foods that are resilient, nutritious, and delicious, and help shape landscapes to enable farming in a range of conditions.
These multifaceted landscapes maintain ecosystem health; create cultural value; maintain healthy soils; provide meat, milk, transport, and medicine; and nourish both people and the planet.
Bio-cultural diversity tends to be richest in locations where native peoples have had long, intimate connections with their landscapes. This diversity is reflected within languages and traditional ecological knowledge systems, and manifests itself in beautiful ways through cultural and artistic expression, according to The Christensen Fund.
The video highlights how domesticated animals are key to a healthy bio-cultural system by providing not only protein, but transport, fiber, and cultural value to communities.In addition, trees, shrubs, roots, and vines are important resources, providing fruit, fiber, and medicine. Bacteria, microbes, protozoa, fungi, nematodes, rhizomes, and arthropods provide an entire underground ecosystem for healthy soil. Bio-cultural landscapes tend to have high rates of carbon sequestration in forests, rich soils, and grasslands, making them important in the fight against climate change.
When a bio-cultural landscape is intact, a bounty of biomass and cultural riches thrives as inhabitants and ecological pieces interact creating a strong defense against climate change. SHARE THIS VIDEO HERE and to learn more about bio-cultural landscapes check out The Christensen Fund’s interactive info graphic HERE.