The Conservation of Sacred and Protected Areas

  • William Blackburn Tuladhar-Douglas (Coordinator)

Impact

Description of impact

Research by Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas on biocultural diversity and religion in sacred landscapes in the Himalayas has had significant impact on conservation policy and practices for ecosystems in the Himalayas. His research has reinvigorated debate about culturally appropriate modes of engagement and challenged the concept of `religion' that conservationists use in their work with indigenous communities. This is particularly the case in terms of concepts of personhood which are held by certain indigenous peoples in relation to non-human creatures, and the ways in which traditional practices engage with non-human persons in the form of animals, plants and deities. Through directly influencing the policy and practice of the World Conservation Union (the leading international body in world conservation), Tuladhar-Douglas' research has led to culturally appropriate understandings of `personhood' being recovered into the management of protected areas. This has changed the interplay between local cultural variation, threats to biodiversity, indigenous perspectives and international conservation norms. Furthermore, his work has determined that there is greater capacity to engage with traditional peoples in conservation, helping to transform them from being `paper stakeholders' to genuine participants. The resulting policy changes are likely to help achieve resilient and successfully protected sites.
Impact statusOpen