Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

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About this website

Biocultural Heritage (BCH) refers to the knowledge and practices of indigenous people and their biological resources, from the genetic varieties of crops they develop, to the landscapes they create. As indigenous peoples have adapted to harsh climates over many generations, this heritage is important for food security in the face of climate change.

This website shows how the concept of biocultural heritage can be used to protect the bundle of rights that support indigenous peoples and local communities. It provides tools to protect and promote biocultural heritage, such as community protocols and Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) partnerships. It shares research developed through Protecting Community Rights over Traditional Knowledge and Smallholder Innovation for Resilience. It reviews policies to protect BCH at international and national level.

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Latest news and blogs

A remote community in the Amazon has agreed Brazil's first community protocol, giving them an equal voice in future discussions about natural resource use.

How can indigenous people benefit more from their biocultural heritage? A new project wants to hear your feedback on how a labelling scheme for biocultural heritage-based products could work.

Article by Claudia Múnera, originally published by The Daly News | March 17th 2014

Research in Nicaragua suggests that recognising the value of biocultural heritage is key to protecting forests from economic pressures.

IIED has released a film showcasing an event where mountain communities discussed the impacts of climate change and how to respond using their biocultural heritage

The second annual meeting of China’s “National Farmers’ In-Site Breeding and Seed-Sharing Network” was held on January 11-13 2015, in Guangxi. It brought together farmers from several provinces, leading crop scientists, policy makers and China’s Soybean Industry Association.

Projects and outputs

A herbalist providing information on medicinal and food plants occurring in Kaya Kinondo

This five-year project (2012-2017) aims to strengthen biocultural innovation for food security in the face of climate change, in China, India, Kenya and Peru.

Indian musicians

This participatory action-research project in China, India, Kenya, Panama and Peru (2004-2009) developed the concept of Collective Biocultural Heritage as its common framework for research.