The concept of sacred natural site as indigenous approach to institutionalize biodiversity protection in Asia
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AbstractAsian countries have entrenched tradition that features embedded relationships between culture and the natural environment. This paper describes the centuries-old phenomenon of sacred natural sites in the Asian setting as an indigenous approach to biodiversity protection and management. Sacred natural sites have spiritual significance to people and indigenous communities, which may include natural forest and built-up areas with man-made structures. The concept of ‘protected area’ had its western roots when the US declared Yosemite National Park in 1864 as a national park, implying that the area should be left free from direct human interference, leaving them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generation. In Asia, protection of biodiversity has been pre-dated by the concept of sacred natural sites, harnessed by the deep-rooted human interaction providing the daily necessities for the people and the communities. This paper likewise delves into country experiences from India, Thailand, Indonesia, China, inter alia, where resource-use is grounded on the biodiversity within sacred natural sites that occasionally exceeded to proximate forest reserves implying a higher level of biodiversity protection. This paper also describes the indigenous peoples' practices through animistic and spiritual tradition, the local community with their Asian indigenous faiths, and mainstream religions such as Islam and Christianity which are crucial to the protection of sacred natural sites. Thus, as shown in this paper, the operational concept of sacred natural site, innately intertwined with indigenous peoples’ ancient religious-spiritual practices, coupled with the regulated resource-use is indeed Asia’s distinct and potent resource in the protection of biodiversity.
TypeConference or Workshop Item
Dario G., Pampanga and Amran, Hamzah and M. Rafee, Majid (2013) The concept of sacred natural site as indigenous approach to institutionalize biodiversity protection in Asia. In: The 12th International Congress of Asian Planning Schools Association (APSA2013), 2013.