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Working Group 3

Culture/Traditions and Protected Areas

1.Chair and Co-chair

2.Outline of the theme

In Asia, there are many cases where nature is protected due to its provision of spiritual/cultural values. There are many cases similar to the Japanese satoyama/satoumi landscapes, or human-influenced natural environments, in which natural resources are used in a sustainable manner and linked to productive activities. In this working group, we will assess these cases and elucidate an Asian concept of nature protection that effectively combines the modern protected areas system and these cultural/traditional forms of environmental protection. Presentations on the following themes will be compiled.

3. Expected Sub-themes and presentations

1)Protected areas management and the livelihood of local people

Various stakeholders are involved in areas designated as protected areas. In particular, the livelihood of local inhabitants who hunt and carry out various forms of agriculture has come into conflict with protected areas management. Besides this, various stakeholders such as people involved in illegal logging, development enterprises, and government agencies have often caused conflicts. The purpose of this sub-theme is to systematize the issues related to protected areas management in Asian countries (especially issues related to people’s livelihood) and to present the policy implications for implementing solutions.

Expected presentations

2) Customary management of satoyama-satoumi (Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape)

Areas that are not designated as protected areas also include natural environments that are used and managed customarily by local communities. For example, customary conservation forest areas form an important livelihood asset to secure essential wood and non-wood forest products in case of emergencies. Rural communities have therefore used and managed the natural resources in a sustainable manner, based on certain rules such as customary law. As a result, a rich natural environment equivalent to that in protected areas has often been maintained. The purpose of this sub-theme is to find out the actual situation of the satoyama-satoumi (Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape) in areas that are not legally designated as protected areas but conserved practically by indigenous and local communities, and to present the implications of this and the issues to considered in the future.

Expected presentation

3) Utilization of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in protected area management

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of local residents has existed as “Local knowledge”, which is different from “Scientific knowledge”. There are cases in which the existence of TEK has led to the conservation of natural ecosystems. The purpose of this sub-theme is to present the implications and issues related to ecosystem conservation involving existing TEK and to discuss how to utilize it in protected area management.

Expected presentation

4) Sacred Natural Sites

“Sacred Natural Sites” existed long before the establishment of the system of modern protected areas and also exist in large numbers within protected areas. The purpose of this sub-theme is to share experiences and issues on the management of sacred natural sites in protected areas in Asia based on the UNESCO/IUCN guidelines.

Expected presentation

5) Other Issues