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Community Well-Being in Biocultural Landscapes: Are We Living Well?

By: Bas Verschuuren(Editor), Suneetha M Subramanian(Editor), Wim Hiemstra(Editor)

168 pages, 61 colour illustrations

Practical Action Publishing

Paperback | Apr 2014 | #216970 | ISBN-13: 9781853398384
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.95 $26/€23 approx
Hardback | Apr 2014 | #216969 | ISBN-13: 9781853398377
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £39.95 $53/€45 approx

About this book

Community Well-Being in Biocultural Landscapes provides an introduction to the concept of human well-being as it relates to international rural development and conservation policy and practice. It demonstrates that well-being is understood and managed in a variety of ways in different cultures but also across the geographical scales at which decision-making processes take place, from the local to regional, national and international scales. Community Well-Being in Biocultural Landscapes shows how community well-being can be measured using indicators chosen by local people to reflect the worldviews of their culture. It provides a unifying approach that is flexible enough to be used by conservation and rural development workers.

"This book makes an important contribution to the quest for measuring human well-being and monitoring progress to achieve it. Much has been said about this need yet solutions are still elusive. Complementarities, diversity, cultural context, and pluralism of approaches are advocated in this book as necessary ingredients for alternative paradigms – the reader will find here some inspiring ideas."
- Gonzalo Oviedo, Senior Adviser on Social Policy, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

"More and more people are realizing there is something desperately wrong in our current materialistic model of development and progress. While it has brought prosperity for a section of humanity, it has impoverished or left behind vast numbers of people, and has violated every principle of living sustainably. Current and future generations, as well as non-human species, are severely threatened. In such a situation the search for alternative worldviews and practices that could lead us to a sustainable and equitable future is by far humanity's most urgent and pressing quest. This book is a valuable addition to such exploration. Its integration of ecological, economic, cultural, and social aspects of life, through the lens of biocultural landscapes and localized community action, is exciting and fresh. In putting together real-life experiences and analyses based on these, the editors and authors of this book have provided pathways for all of us to explore and build on."
- Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh and ICCA Consortium

"The dominant development paradigm of our times is one-dimensional. Economic growth is the almost universal prime policy goal of governments. Competitive self-enhancement and the relentless pursuit of self-interest reign supreme. This type of development is self-defeating, like rushing full speed into a dead-end street. It leads to senseless consumerism, growing inequalities, erosion of social cohesion and environmental collapse. In this climate, Community Well-Being in Biocultural Landscapes is like a sorely needed breath of fresh air. It draws our attention to alternative concepts of human and social well-being. It highlights how culture and nature are intertwined in integrated cultural–ecological systems. And it shows the wide variety of such biocultural landscapes across the globe. Presenting more than a single ray of hope, this book projects a very rainbow of pathways towards equitable and sustainable development."
- Henk Molenaar, Executive Director, WOTRO Science for Global Development

"In an ever-technologizing and globalizing world filled with savage inequalities and ecological decadence, a sane voice on wellness where nature and culture are in balance is paramount. Community Well-Being in Biocultural Landscapes brings to life the realities of communities whose feelings of wellness defy conventional notions. The experiences from three continents – Africa, Asia and South America – in their uniqueness and sharedness, teach lessons of living in wellness. It is a must-read for those seeking a transformation from communities of violent prosperity into caring communities where balance defines wellness."
- Agnes Atia Apusigah, Faculty of Education, University for Development Studies, Tamale-Northern Region, Ghana


Prelims (Figures, tables and boxes/ Preface/ Foreword)

1 Reflections on well-being: from GDP to local communities and their landscapes
2 Exploring a new approach to well-being assessment
3 Community well-being in Bolivia: an indigenous perspective
4 Community well-being in Sri Lanka: a Buddhist perspective
5 Community well-being in Ghana: a traditional perspective
6 Community well-being and biodiversity conservation: examples from the Equator Initiative
7 An analysis of community well-being in biocultural landscapes: are we living well?

Back Matter (Annex 1 Poverty reduction outcomes in community-led natural resources management programmes)

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Bas Verschuuren is a scientist and facilitator with EarthCollective and serves as Co-chair with IUCN's Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas. Bas has over 10 years of international experience integrating cultural and spiritual values in conservation management and policy.

Suneetha M. Subramanian is at the UN University-Institute of Advanced Studies, Japan.

Wim Hiemstra is with ETC-COMPAS Network, The Netherlands.

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