Scientists seek out forest traditions in climate change fight
CIFOR blog post, 22 July 2013

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: Traditional knowledge has helped people adapt to a changing world since the dawn of humankind, said researchers at the Third Latin American Congress of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), held from 12-15 June 2013, in San José, Costa Rica. As climate change threatens the livelihoods of forest people, scientists are tuning their ears to the myths, stories and songs with which people hand down traditional forest-related knowledge from generation to generation. Miguel Pinedo-Vásquez, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has seen some of those practices first-hand in riverside communities in the Amazon. “Smallholder production systems are inherently adaptable, because people have always had to deal with environmental variability and change in order to provide goods for their families,” Pinedo-Vásquez said in a presentation on “Forest Knowledge: An Amazonian Resource for Adaptation to and Mitigation of Climate Change.” People living in Amazonian communities are not the only ones who use traditional knowledge, said Marco Fioravanti, in his presentation on “Wooden Heritage as a Reference Source for Studies on Traditional Knowledge.” Teasing clues from the design of items from religious statues to timber-framed houses to chairs, Fioravanti studies the way in which woodworking technology has changed in response to changing needs and conditions. Read the blog post …