Co-Chair Theme on Sustainable Livelihoods
Iain Davidson-Hunt holds a faculty position at the Natural Resources Institute in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Earth, Envrionment & Resources at the University of Manitoba. This follows five years working in Latin America (Bolivia & Mexico) to support rural community development and eight years on land use planning and enterprise development in northern Canada. I now work with Master of Natural Resource Management students interested in ethnobotany and ethnoecology with a particular focus on the practice of harvesting (gathering, hunting, fishing) within forested landscapes. We focus both on harvesting for subsistence and for non-commercial and commercial trade. In the area of commercial trade an emerging interest is in documenting the value chains and networks of specific organisms and products. At the Ph.D. level I have been working with students to develop conceptual framing and methodologies to understand the topologies of harvesting networks and the continuity of such practices. This work builds out of my previous research on cultural landscape documentation and realization that different approaches were required to understand both the everyday practice of harvesting and its continuity.
I have also recently begun to draw together my experience as a professional planner and my interests in ethnobotany, ethnoecology and community enterprises in developing an approach that we term biocultural design. While this is an emergent interest it provides an applied platform to work with community enterprises to consider how the process of design can be utilized to develop products rooted in knowledge of the biological materials guided by the cultural values of a region. While we consider biocultural design to be an integrated process we break it into two phases. In the first phase we are building upon my previous work on cultural landscape documentation and enhancing that methodology by brining in thinking from cultural asset mapping to create an approach of biocultural asset mapping. The second phase utilizes a team approach that includes community members and other relevant knowledge holders to move from documentation to the design of biocultural products.
My involvement with CEESP began in 2009 as Vice-Chair North America and was appointed as Co-Chair of TSL at the 2012 World Conservation Congress.