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Knowledge and conservation in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia

Barnes, Paul Andrew; (2021) Knowledge and conservation in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The concept of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) is not new in anthropology, but in recent years has gained increasing prominence within conservation. While anthropologists have extensively researched cross-cultural engagements, the same level of scrutiny has not been applied in conservation. This is potentially problematic as the global conservation community places increasing reliance on ILK and its holders. This interdisciplinary research explores how conservation might be better aligned with ILK through a case study of the Cyclops Mountains with resident indigenous groups. I use a mixture of qualitative, quantitative and participatory data collection and analysis methods spanning the natural and social sciences. I begin by positioning this research within the history of conservation, property rights and regimes, ‘conservation’ in small scale societies, and debates about ILK and its practical use in conservation. I then review and synthesise ILK related to conservation in South-East Asia and Melanesia finding that ILK research is distributed unevenly and based on diverse motivations. Further, when ILK research is motivated by conservation, three clear themes emerge: natural resource management institutions, wildlife and habitat monitoring, and sustainable use of individual resources. Subsequently, I draw together a discursive social, historical and political analysis of conservation and the transformation of ILK in the Cyclops Mountains finding that conservation policies based on ILK are inevitably intertwined with global and national issues. I then provide two case studies of ways in which conservation might pragmatically engage with ILK. I investigate the ethnozoology of the Cyclops Mountains by describing how locally salient species differ from species prioritised by conservation, how folk taxonomies are similar throughout the indigenous groups of the area, and how the heterogeneity of cultural domain expertise is influenced by local experience and indigenous language intactness. Finally, I explore how ILK can inform baseline monitoring of threatened species in the Cyclops Mountains. I close by discussing the practical difficulties of cross-cultural engagements between conservation biology and ILK, raising several concerns related to the scale and content of these engagements and the risks of placing a greater reliance on ILK for conservation and people.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Knowledge and conservation in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129276
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