During recent years several new ideas have developed that biodiversity conservation should not only be based on preservation of threatened biodiversity, but also on the sustenance of the diversity of ways in which people live with biodiversity at genetic, species and landscape level. Originally, mostly ecologists were involved in studying options for preservation of threatened biodiversity, and the study of the multiple ways people live with biodiversity was foremost the domain of the scientist working in the domain of environmental sociology and psychology in ‘western’ countries or of human ecology and anthropology in tropical countries. Due to the growing understanding that the stimulation of biodiversity conservation requires understanding of the myriad ways in which people live with biodiversity, there is increasing interest in developing new concepts and research approaches that transcend the dichotomy in disciplinary approaches as well as in focus on traditional societies in tropical counties and on modernized societies in western countries respectively. Recently, within Europe, the Florence Declaration (2014) explicitly indicates the need to recognise “the vital importance of cultural and biological diversity for present and future generations and the well-being of contemporary societies in urban and rural settings”. This understanding has resulted in the development of new concepts for studying people – nature relations, such as biocultural diversity and cultural landscapes. The seminar aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the meaning and relevance of these new concepts in conservation by presenting recent research findings from South Africa and the Netherlands in a comparative perspective.
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