Cultural Memory and Biodiversity
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University of Arizona Press
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Virginia Nazarea addresses the incompleteness of preserving biodiversity of agricultural crops through seed and genebanks, suggesting that preserving the cultural memory associated with the conserved species is also important. She presents a method for “banking” the local knowledge of the plant species and the traditional cultivation techniques. Indigenous sweet potato cultivation in Bukidnon, Philippines is presented as a case study for interdependent conservation of both germplasm and culture. Her method, which combines ecological and cognitive data with oral history, has identifiable benefits for the local population, including the provision of alternatives to modern, large-scale agriculture systems.