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

Mainstream Western economics is destroying the environment - and the Indigenous knowledge that has conserved nature for millennia.

On 2nd of December, the Mexican Parliament voted unanimously to include the protection of biocultural heritage and promotion of agroecology in Mexico’s Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection.

A recent workshop hosted by IIED and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew explored how the way Indigenous Peoples grow and consume food holds answers to the world’s broken food system.

A new briefing examines the importance of biocultural heritage territories, whose communities are custodians of biodiversity.

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.