Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 25 Nov 2017 12am

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    Saturday, November 25, 2017-12:39:00A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Regional News

The islands’ cultural landscapes

IN many Micronesia islands, landscapes have religious, artistic or cultural associations.

Through the years, the indigenous people have altered the original ecological system in response to western scientific discourse and the need to conserve biological diversity.

The FSM and Palau, for example, are preserving their spiritual relation to nature through modern techniques to achieve sustainable development and traditional practices to maintain biological diversity.

Many islanders still respect traditional authority and the land tenure system as well as the traditional knowledge regarding ecosystems, resources and the environment.

In many islands in Micronesia, cultural landscapes reflect the continuity of living traditions in the region.

This is evident in traditional knowledge that tells of the origin and interconnectedness of the land and the sea as well as all living organisms including humans.

The natural features associated with cosmological, symbolic, sacred and culturally significant landscapes are very broad and encompass the land and the sea: mountains, caves, islets, stretches of ocean, cliffs, reefs, rivers, lakes, pools, beaches, hillsides, uplands, plains, forests, and trees. These are valued by many community members who want to preserve them for future generations.

Today, cultural landscapes are recognized as part of the natural heritage and celebrated for their ecological values.

New research conducted by Hokkaido University shows how we can preserve and recognize these landscapes through ecosystem service mapping methodologies.

These will enable island landscape managers to determine whether certain locations should be targeted for environmental preservation or whether they could be utilized as a tourism resource.