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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)

Pathways for indigenous knowledge engagement on marine biodiversity conservation 

PI: Marivic G. Pajaro with co-PI Paul Watts, Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, Inc.
U.S. Partner:  Douglas Medin, Northwestern University
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2015

Project Overview 

The Philippines is a global priority for the conservation of marine biodiversity. The country is also highly dependent on marine resources, with more than one million people directly dependent upon the fisheries sector. This project is based on the belief that local people using indigenous knowledge are capable of solving many environmental challenges, particularly if supported by their jurisdictions. In the Philippines, moving from an exclusive top-down approach to include a bottom-up approach for coastal resource management has become widely accepted as governments decentralize. Even so, local people remain marginalized on issues surrounding natural resource conservation and management. Larger geographical-scale concepts such as biodiversity may be somewhat beyond local knowledge systems and require targeted learning strategies. This project will address the related need for a cross-cultural understanding of environment and biodiversity in fisherfolk cultures. It builds upon fisherfolk social knowledge systems, historic and contemporary cultural profiles, and consideration of economic and political institutions and practices for linked communities.
Phillipines Partnership Photo 1 

Phillipines Partnership Photo 2 

Workshops with local fisherfolk are an ongoing activity.
The Aurora Province orientation meeting was held with representatives
from each of the eight Municipal Health Offices.

The current knowledge base indicates that Philippine fisherfolk communities develop through a process of allocating and distributing rights over specific resources and places. The researchers heading this project will work with PAMANA, a national alliance of community-based coastal resource managers. The goals will be to develop a protocol for expanding the ecohealth lens to encompass biodiversity conservation within a wide range of fisherfolk communities and to assist them through best practice transfer to be more engaged in their own future sustainability. The project is also intended to facilitate the development of community-based science curriculum for the first Philippine bioregional or biodiversity-based Bachelor of Marine Science program at an academic institution in Aurora Province, northeast Philippines.

Summary of Recent Activities
During the third quarter of 2014, Dr. Pajaro and her team met their targets for community-based assessment and Cultural Consensus Theory data. They are continuing to analyze the data to determine the areas of focus for best practice transfer activities. Additionally, as part of the team’s development focus on bioregional oceanography, socio-economics, and social processes, the team has utilized supplemental Cultural Consensus Theory datasets. This period also saw the publication of Dr. Pajaro’s article, “Integrating Marine Biodiversity through Philippine Local Development Plans” in the journal, Management of Environmental Quality.

Future plans for this project include finalizing the team’s initiatives for best practice transfer based on the gathered data and to prepare a request to transfer funds into activities that maximize development impact. The team will also establish follow-up agreements with collaborators and stakeholders that will continue after the project life-cycle concludes.

Back to PEER Cycle 1 Grant Recipients