Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

Bernhard E. Splechtna, Monika Kriechbaum:


After the big success of the term biodiversity, a new buzzword is on its march across the globe: Biocultural Diversity.

The concept of biocultural diversity covers the complex correlations and interactions between nature and culture and their connection to nature conservation and social and economic development. During the past decade, the relationship between biological and cultural diversity has received increased attention in academic as well as political circles.

Within the last year no less than five international conferences have been dedicated to biocultural diversity. The special topic of this volume is dedicated to the conference “Preservation of Biocultural Diversity – a Global Issue” held on May 6–8, 2008 at the University of Natural Resource Management and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU University, Vienna). The conference was organized by the Centre of Nature Conservation and Environmental Studies and co-sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research and by the Japan Foundation.

Initial point for this conference was the establishment of the Satoyama – BOKU Platform for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Research. Satoyama is a popular Japanese word describing the traditional cultural landscape of Japan. Literally translated as village and mountain, it describes the unity of nature and culture, the resulting diversity and its value for life quality – the concept of biocultural diversity.

A special focus of the conference, therefore, was on Satoyama research. However, the conference added not only a Japanese, but also a Central European perspective to the international discussion.

The aims of this conference were:

• to emphasize that biocultural diversity is a thriving and challenging field of research

• to discuss approaches and share ideas on how to preserve biocultural diversity

• to exchange experiences made with activities and projects that have been designed not only to preserve the biocultural diversity of a region, but to learn from traditional ways of life and adapt them to the necessities of today and the future.

After explaining and analyzing the threats to biocultural diversity, the focus of the conference lay on concepts and tools for adaptive conservation of biocultural diversity. A few selected papers are published in this volume, which cover the conceptual framework of the conference. Reports of applied projects in different parts of the world are available in the conference proceedings, which can be ordered at the Centre for Environmental Studies and Nature Conservation.

Vienna, March 2009

Bernhard E. Splechtna, Monika Kriechbaum

Centre for Environmental Studies and Nature Conservation,

Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Research,

University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna.

E-mail: bernhard.splechtna@boku.ac.at