Andy Gosler talk about ethno-ornithology and EWA at 2021 ICCB conference


Conference Abstract

The Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA): affirming local voices in conservation

Satellite data demonstrate that globally significant biodiversity persists today chiefly in indigenous-managed lands and in sacred sites. At a landscape scale, these show how the wellbeing of both humans and the ecosystems in which they thrive rely on locally-embedded cultures imbued with a sense of the sacredness of human relationship with the land. The holistic nature of this perception is reflected in the term Biocultural Diversity.

Global science has always founded its ‘discovery’ of the world’s biodiversity on the ecological knowledge of indigenous people. Scientific biosystematics, and the species inventories on which conservation policy now depends, owe an immense debt to indigenous people. However, but for representation in the scientific names of a few species, this contribution has gone largely unacknowledged.

Developed since 2012 through a partnership between the Department of Zoology and School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford, U.K. and BirdLife International, the Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA) is growing as a publicly- facing, internet-based, archive/showcase of local names and knowledge of birds in diverse languages. This knowledge comes in many forms including dance, artefacts, songs and stories etc. handed down through generations. Adhering to the ethical code of the International Society of Ethnobiology with respect to Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights, the EWA concept and development, current and ongoing projects in and EWA’s future potential to affirm the importance of local people and cultures in conservation will be considered.

*Prof. Andrew G. Gosler,

Professor of Ethno-ornithology, Institute of Human Sciences, University of Oxford
58a Banbury Rd.,
Oxford OX2 6QS

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