Cultural Memory and Biodiversity
Virginia Nazarea now makes a case for preserving cultural memory along with biodiversity. Interweaving a wealth of ecological and cognitive data with ... Show synopsis Virginia Nazarea now makes a case for preserving cultural memory along with biodiversity. Interweaving a wealth of ecological and cognitive data with oral history, Nazarea details a "memory banking" protocol for collecting and conserving cultural information to complement the genetic, agronomic, and biochemical characterization of important crops. She shows that memory banking offers significant benefits for local populations - not only the preservation of traditional knowledge but also the maintenance of alternatives to large-scale agricultural development and commercialization. She also compares alternative forms of germplasm conservation conducted by a male-dominated hierarchy with those of an informal network of migrant women. Cultural Memory and Biodiversity establishes valuable guidelines for people who aspire to support community-based in situ conservation of local varieties. Perhaps more important, it shows that the traditional methods of local farmers are often as important as the "advanced" methods encouraged by advocates of modernization.