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North-West University (2022)

Biocultural diversity of herpetofauna in South Africa : State and relevance as a science-based policy tool for conservation and social inclusion

Phaka, Fortunate Mafeta

Titre : Biocultural diversity of herpetofauna in South Africa : State and relevance as a science-based policy tool for conservation and social inclusion

Auteur : Phaka, Fortunate Mafeta

Université de soutenance : North-West University

Grade : PhD (Science with Environmental Sciences), 2022

Résumé partiel
The world’s regions of high biodiversity in general also have high cultural or linguistic diversity. Researchers noticed this coincidence and started to question whether the connection between the two diversities extended beyond their geographical co-occurrence. This concept of an inextricable connection between biological and cultural diversity became known as biocultural diversity and started being a research topic in the 1990s. Answering research questions about the interlinking of social and biological components of the world requires knowledge from different scientific fields. Ethnobiology which combines social and biological science methodology to investigate past and present relationships between biodiversity and people’s cultures, provided an ideal hybrid approach to investigate biocultural diversity. Through this approach that transcends scientific disciplines, the current research provides the first comprehensive analysis of the relationship between South African cultures and the country’s diversity of herptiles (frogs and reptiles). South Africa as a country rich in both biological and cultural diversity has a low number of biocultural diversity research in comparison to other research topics. Frogs and reptiles feature in many South African cultural practices and the interaction of South Africa’s cultures with the country’s herptile species is generally believed to be based on negative perceptions which pose a conservation threat for those species. This comprehensive analysis confirms conservation threats arising from traditional cultural practices in addition to highlighting prospects for social inclusion and just conservation planning that can be derived from the interactions of cultural diversity with biodiversity (specifically herptile diversity). Furthermore, the cultural importance of biodiversity can influence accumulation of primary biodiversity data that is used in biodiversity research and conservation. The study shows herptiles are important to various elements of people’s traditional cultures including language, entertainment, spirituality, traditional medicine and gastronomy. Within each element of culture there is either consumptive use of herptiles, or cultural practices are non-detrimental towards herptiles species.

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Page publiée le 24 janvier 2023