DARRELL POSEY (BA entomology, Louisiana State University, 1969; M.S. geography and anthropology, Louisiana State University, 1974; Ph.D. anthropology, University of Georgia, 1979) is Titled Researcher (Pesquisador Titular) for the Brazilian National Council for Science and Technology at the Goeldi Museum, Belem, Brazil. He is also Director of the Programme for Traditional Resource Rights of the Oxford Centre for the Environment, Ethics and Society at Mansfield College, and an Associate Fellow of Linacre College, University of Oxford. He is a former advisor to the Brazilian Minister for the Environment. Posey was Founding President of the International Society for Ethnobiology and is President of the Global Coalition for Bio-Cultural Diversity, under whose auspices he founded and coordinates the Programme for Traditional Resource Rights. He was Convener of The Earth Parliament, a 15-day assembly for indigenous and minority groups held during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Posey was the recipient of the first "Chico Mendes Award for Outstanding Bravery in Defense of the Environment" and is one of the recipients of the United Nations "Global 500" Award for Environmental Achievement. His main fieldwork is on the ethnobiology of the Kayapo Indians of the Brazilian Amazon. He has published over 184 scientific articles and 8 books, the most recent of which are "Beyond Intellectual Property: Towards Traditional Resource Rights for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities" (IDRC, Ottawa,1996; with Graham Dutfield); "Equitable Sharing of Benefits: International Instruments for the Protection of Community Intellectual Property and Traditional Resource Rights" (IUCN/UNA, International Books, The Hague; 1996), and "Indigenous Peoples and Sustainability" (IUCN and Earthscan; 1996).
The 1998 Declaration of Belem introduced the now familiar phrase: "the inextricable link between cultural and biological diversity". Subsequently that link has been increasingly investigated through studies of ethnobiology, ethnoecology, and linguistics. Clearly the taxonomic systems, emic perceptions, and codified knowledge of overt and covert categories depend on language as a major vehicle for cultural transmission. Together with the understanding that many previous assumed "natural" ecosystems are in fact "cultural landscapes", and that many "wild" plants are indeed human-modified, the role of traditional ecological knowledge and natural resource management strategies have become central to effective conservation of biodiversity. This is formally and legally recognized in the Convention on Biological Diversity. Although the international community is beginning to recognize the inextricable link between biological and cultural diversity, linguistic diversity is far from being a consideration in international forums. The linguistic link has not been sufficiently argued, adequately documented, or amply clarified. This paper calls for urgent action to correct these inadequacies by greater interdisciplinary activity, combined with a more proactive political stance by concerned scientists.
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