The Wisdom, Knowledge and Customs of Indigenous Communities in Ban Chaung

REPORT SUMMARY

Ban Chaung (Paw Klo), located in Dawei Township of Tanintharyi Region in Southern Myanmar, is a unique area, harboring a range of valuable habitats and ecosystems that support a vast biodiversity and a number of vulnerable and endangered mammal species. This landscape represents a portion of South East Asia’s largest remaining contiguous low elevation evergreen forest.

Far from being an area free of human activity, Ban Chaung is a cultural landscape, home to indigenous Karen communities, who have conserved and protected this area for generations according to the customs, traditions and management systems that have been passed down from their ancestors. Local beliefs in spirits, and close ties with elders and ancestors means that cultural values and practices have remained largely intact.

Further, a set of locally based institutions ensures that land and resources are used and managed sustainably by community members through democratically developed rules and regulations that are monitored and enforced by the community. The strong and interdependent relationship that local communities have with their surrounding environment has been vital in the preservation of Ban Chaung’s unique natural landscape.

Local knowledge research carried out by indigenous researchers has discovered a vast diversity of fish, medicinal plant and forest vegetable species, demonstrating the enormous amount of indigenous knowledge that local communities hold over their territories. Furthermore, research into the customs and practices of indigenous communities shows how the beliefs and cultures of Ban Chaung’s communities provide both for the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, and the sustainable livelihoods of communities.

This report presents the local knowledge research of four communities in Ban Chaung research, who have identified and documented a wide number of fish, vegetable and medicinal plant species in their villages. It also provides a snapshot into the customs, beliefs and customary tenure systems of communities in Ban Chaung, that work to protect and sustainably manage their natural resources. This research emphasizes the importance of recognizing the wisdom and traditions of indigenous communities, and the need to respect their land, resource rights and cultural rights if Tanintharyi Region’s forests are to be protected and the health, wellbeing, and happiness of the future generations in Ban Chaung is to be guaranteed.

Download full report in English HERE.

အစီရင္ခံစာ ျမန္မာဘာသာကို ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။

အစီရင္ခံစာ စေကာကရင္ဘာသာကို ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။

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