Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

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Farmers sharing potatoes in the Potato Park, Peru

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

New biocultural heritage landscape will protect rich biodiversity and cultural identities of indigenous communities.

The story of a spiritual journey made by Quechua farmers bringing their cherished potato seeds from the Potato Park, in the high Andes of Peru, to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on a remote island halfway between Norway and the North Pole, has been documented in a film.

The International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples has called for support and legal protection for biocultural heritage landscapes and community conserved areas following an event in Peru.

TV news reports on the Policy Dialogue organised by IIED and Lok Chetna Manch in West Bengal, India

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.