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Landscape Ethnoecology

Landscape Ethnoecology: Concepts of Biotic and Physical Space

Leslie Main Johnson
Eugene S. Hunn
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 332
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  • Book Info
    Landscape Ethnoecology
    Book Description:

    Although anthropologists and cultural geographers have explored "place" in various senses, little cross-cultural examination of "kinds of place," or ecotopes, has been presented from an ethno-ecological perspective. In this volume, indigenous and local understandings of landscape are investigated in order to better understand how human communities relate to their terrestrial and aquatic resources. The contributors go beyond the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) literature and offer valuable insights on ecology and on land and resources management, emphasizing the perception of landscape above the level of species and their folk classification. Focusing on the ways traditional people perceive and manage land and biotic resources within diverse regional and cultural settings, the contributors address theoretical issues and present case studies from North America, Mexico, Amazonia, tropical Asia, Africa and Europe.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-804-1
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Anthropology, General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. x-xi)
  5. Introduction Landscape Ethnoecology Concepts of Biotic and Physical Space
    (pp. 1-12)
    Leslie Main Johnson and Eugene S. Hunn

    The fundamental concern of this volume is landscape. Our focus is on the perception of the land, the parsing of its patterns, and the classification of its constituent parts in local ethnoecological systems, and on the significance of these understandings in the ethnoecology of local groups.

    We emphasize landscape as perceived and imagined by the people who live in it, the land seen, used and occupied by the members of a local community. It is a cultural landscape. This notion of landscape has some resonance with “territory,” or “country” as used in the Australian literature, but with somewhat greater emphasis...

  6. Part 1: Theoretical Perspectives

    • Chapter 1 Toward a Theory of Landscape Ethnoecological Classification
      (pp. 15-26)
      Eugene S. Hunn and Brien A. Meilleur

      We propose that landscape ethnoecological classification represents a semantic domain worthy of systematic comparative analysis. A landscape ethnoecological classification is a set of named categories such as “marsh,” “cliff face,” “old-growth forest,” “hedgerow,” “mangrove swamp,” “oak copse,” and “lawn,” each of which refers to a perceptually and functionally distinct landscape feature. We propose a comparative analysis of such terminological sets modeled on that which has proved to be productive with ethnobiological (Berlin 1992), ethnoanatomical (Brown 1976), toponymic (Hunn 1996), color (Kay and Berlin 1997), and kinship classifications (Atkins 1974). As with these better-known domains, their successful analysis requires a clear...

    • Chapter 2 Ethnophysiography of Arid Lands: Categories for Landscape Features
      (pp. 27-46)
      David M. Mark, Andrew G. Turk and David Stea

      How do people understand their environment? How do they remember it? How do they communicate this knowledge to others? These questions all address abilities that are essential to human existence. The environment may be thought of as a continuum, populated by objects of various sizes, and shaped and maintained by various processes, some small, some large, some close, and some distant. Ethnoecologists have studied many aspects of local knowledge of the environment, but much of this work has concentrated on elements of the proximity, such as plants and animals, while the larger and more distant components of the environment have...

  7. Part 2: Landscape Classification:: Ecotopes, Biotopes, Landscape Elements, and Forest Types

    • Chapter 3 Landscape Perception, Classification, and Use among Sahelian Fulani in Burkina Faso
      (pp. 49-82)
      Julia Krohmer

      The Fulani are one of the largest groups of cattle pastoralists in Africa. In historical migrations they spread from Senegambia over the entire West African savannah landscapes into Sudan and the Central African Republic. More recently most have settled as agropastoralists (Frantz 1993; Azarya 1999), a crucial change compared to their original nomadic way of life. In view of this fundamental change, the question arises whether and how the broad realm of traditional knowledge, not least the knowledge of the landscape in which they live, is affected. This knowledge represented the foundation of their mobile way of life and the...

    • Chapter 4 Baniwa Vegetation Classification in the White-Sand Campinarana Habitat of the Northwest Amazon, Brazil
      (pp. 83-115)
      Marcia Barbosa Abraão, Glenn H. Shepard Jr., Bruce W. Nelson, João Cláudio Baniwa, Geraldo Andrello and Douglas W. Yu

      Anthropological approaches to landscape have paid special attention to how local environmental knowledge is imbued with individual and collective histories, symbols, values, and memories (Basso 1996; Hill 1989; Hirsch and O’Hanlon 1995; Santos-Granero 1998; Strang 1997). In studying the biotic elements of indigenous environmental knowledge, ethnobiologists have traditionally focused on the classification and use of plants and animals (Berlin, Breedlove and Raven 1974; Berlin 1992; Conklin 1954; Ellen 1979; Hunn 1977). More recently, systems of indigenous landscape classification have been the subject of increasingly sophisticated interdisciplinary studies focusing especially on topographic, soil, and vegetation typologies used by local peoples (Fleck...

    • Chapter 5 Why Aren’t the Nuaulu Like the Matsigenka? Knowledge and Categorization of Forest Diversity on Seram, Eastern Indonesia
      (pp. 116-140)
      Roy Ellen

      Ethnobotanical studies of the knowledge of tropical forest peoples have demonstrated an extensive local knowledge of trees, local recognition of forest diversity, and the existence of coherent vernacular classifications of forest types. While folk classifications of habitats, biotopes, and landscapes more generally have received much less attention than folk systematics (Sillitoe 1998: 104; Meilleur 1986: 54–90; Martin 1974; Torre-Cuadros and Ross 2003), the data that are available on indigenous forest classifications in particular suggest significant variation in the extent to which recognition of compositional diversity actually translates into complex, fixed, and labeled categories for different types of forest.


    • Chapter 6 The Cultural Significance of the Habitat Mañaco Taco to the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon
      (pp. 141-158)
      Michael P. Gilmore, Sebastián Ríos Ochoa and Samuel Ríos Flores

      The Maijuna Indians of the Peruvian Amazon have a complex and detailed habitat classification system for both the forest and nonforest habitats found within the Sucusari River basin (Gilmore 2005). Their habitat classification system is not a perfectly hierarchical system; instead it is composed of multiple, separate overlapping subsystems that they use to classify habitat types. The Maijuna classify over seventy different habitats within the Sucusari River basin based on geomorphology, physiognomy, indicator plant species, indicator animal species, and disturbance.

      Geomorphologically defined habitat types recognized by the Maijuna within the Sucusari River basin are identified and classified based mainly on...

    • Chapter 7 The Structure and Role of Folk Ecological Knowledge in Les Allues, Savoie (France)
      (pp. 159-174)
      Brien A. Meilleur

      Beginning with the pioneering work of Harold Conklin in the 1950s and Brent Berlin in the 1960s and 1970s, folk biological method and theory have attempted to account primarily for the internal logical structure of “native” or “folk” systems of biological classification (i.e., of flora and fauna). This effort resulted in cross-culturally comparative models of folk classificatory behavior, demonstrating what were often striking structural and intellectual similarities between the folk systems and “Western” scientific taxonomies. As such, folk biology continues to contribute to a better understanding of human psychology and cognition. In what might be called a second wave in...

    • Chapter 8 Life on the Ice: Understanding the Codes of a Changing Environment
      (pp. 175-200)
      Claudio Aporta

      On 27 March 2001 Maurice Arnatsiaq and I were conducting a place-names survey of the island of Igloolik and surrounding area. It was noon, and, having completed the survey of the eastern coast, Maurice guided me onto the sea ice toward Nirlirnaqtuuq, a relatively large island (about twelve kilometers long) a few kilometers north of Igloolik. Known as “Neerlonakto” on topographic maps, Nirlirnaqtuuq, with low topographic features, was barely visible from the distance, forming almost a whole with the sea ice. After taking the island’s geographic coordinates, I asked Maurice about a landmark that we could clearly see standing toward...

  8. Part 3: Linkages and Meanings of Landscapes and Cultural Landscapes

    • Chapter 9 Visions of the Land: Kaska Ethnoecology, “Kinds of Place,” and “Cultural Landscape”
      (pp. 203-221)
      Leslie Main Johnson

      In this chapter I present a synthesis of my understanding of Kaska landscape ethnoecology. I have attempted to discern Kaska “kinds of place” or cultural ecotopes, and I have also sought to gain a broader-scale understanding of themeaningof the land, the understanding people have of the land, and how people learn about the land, to enable a fuller understanding of Kaska ethnoecology.

      The traditional territory of the Kaska Dena straddles the 60° parallel in western Canada and lies within a mixed region of mountains and broad uplands traversed by major rivers. It is part of the Boreal Forest...

    • Chapter 10 Journeying and Remembering: Anishinaabe Landscape Ethnoecology from Northwestern Ontario
      (pp. 222-240)
      Iain Davidson-Hunt and Fikret Berkes

      Ethnobiology has expanded our knowledge of how people classify individual organisms into taxa and how taxa are grouped hierarchically. But only recently has ethnoecology turned its attention to the question of whether societies systematically classify landscapes (Johnson this volume; Hunn and Meilleur this volume). The way we approach this question in this chapter is to begin by asking how a particular society, the Anishinaabe, pattern space and time so that such patterns provide a means to convey knowledge of their landscape amongst individuals and across generations.

      In the ethnoecological literature the knowledge of plant harvesters is often tied to a...

    • Chapter 11 What’s in a Name? Southern Paiute Place Names as Keys to Landscape Perception
      (pp. 241-254)
      Catherine S. Fowler

      Through the years, ethnographers and linguists working in the Great Basin have recorded place names from several groups speaking Numic languages, including Owens Valley and Northern Paiute peoples (Kelly 1932; Fowler 1992; Steward 1933), Western, Northern, and Wind River Shoshone groups (Miller 1972; Shimkin 1947; Steward 1938), Southern Paiute (Kelly 1964; Sapir 1930–31), Chemehuevi (Laird 1976), and Ute speakers (Goss 1972; Givon 1979). However, most have gathered these data as adjuncts to general ethnographic or linguistic work, and thus the names, although they are occasionally numerous, were rarely the focus of specific data gathering efforts or analyses. Only Isabel...

    • Chapter 12 Managing Maya Landscapes: Quintana Roo, Mexico
      (pp. 255-276)
      E. N. Anderson

      Landscape has been a key concept in geography for decades, and recently has become important in anthropology as well. The theory of landscape in geography was developed by Carl Sauer (1925, 1963). His students, notably Yi-fu Tuan (e.g., 1977, 1979, 1990), have built on his foundations. Landscape, in the Sauerian sense, comprised the landforms, waters, living things of the land, and the people, including their manipulated environments and their understandings of the land. Sauer saw landscape as a result of human management of nature—planned use and unplanned consequences. Nature was a player; human managers had to consider climate, landforms,...

  9. Part 4: Conclusions

    • Chapter 13 Landscape Ethnoecology: Reflections
      (pp. 279-297)
      Leslie Main Johnson and Eugene S. Hunn

      Landscape ethnoecology is grounded in the relationship between people and land—particular people and particular tracts of land. Moreover, landscape ethnoecology implies ahomeland. The landscape is not mere substrate, nor a bundle of (actual or potential) resources, but instead is invested with a framework of deep meaning. In landscape ethnoecology, relevant understandings range from the very particular grounded ecotopic knowledge of geomorphology, biogeography, and hydrology to overarching cosmological formulations, and levels are mutually interactive. In this inclusive and multileveled perspective, landscape ethnoecology is compatible with the original formulation of cultural ecology by Julian Steward in the 1950s (Steward 1955)....

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 298-304)
  11. Index
    (pp. 305-320)