Biology and Traditional Knowledge


Jan Salick and Will McClatchey

Countries involved

Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada (including First Nations), Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, EU, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Guinea, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Polynesia, South Africa, Tanzania, US (including Native Americans), Vietnam

Field of Research

Biology and Traditional Knowledge


As urged by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the Committee on Biology and Traditional Knowledge includes many and varied disciplines within and outside of biology and many countries who have IUBS representation. In 2009, we hosted a symposium in Cape Town, South Africa in conjunction with the IUBS General Assembly and co-hosted by another IUBS committee. We included geographers, anthropologists, agronomists, policy experts, and development workers, as well as biologists. The committee has hosted the involvement of scientists from Africa, Europe, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South America, North America and Oceania.  Traditional Knowledge and Environmental Change was the topic of the symposium in 2009.  We are now organizing a symposium for 2010 in conjunction with the ICSU and UNESCO meeting on “Global Change and the World's Mountains” in Perth, Scotland 26-30 September.  Our contribution will be a session on “Climate Change and Traditional Knowledge of Alpine Environments” to which we invite third world scientists involved in climate change research and traditional knowledge. All of our committee members pursue individual research on Biology and Traditional Knowledge according to their own research agendas. Activities beyond 2010 are being formulated now to be discussed at the 2010 symposium and with IUBS, ICSU, and UNESCO in Paris.