Building and Supporting Resilient Biocultural Territories in the Face of Climate Change



  • Indigenous People’s Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA)


  • 27/02/2012

  • REGION :

  • Global


  • The IPCCA is an indigenous initiative which brings together indigenous communities and organizations from a diversity of fragile and biodiverse ecosystems and socio-ecological production landscapes to assess the impacts of climate change and build responses that enable continued resilience and strengthen a harmonious relationship between people and nature. This case study explores the IPCCA approach of indigenous biocultural territories and a methodology based on combining traditional knowledge, local inquiry and science through a mutli-stakeholder participatory process to understand climatic change as it is experienced locally, assess climatic and ecosystem conditions and trends and build adaptive responses for well-being. The IPCCA approach is offered as a vehicle for accomplishing the Satoyama Initiative goals.


  • indigenous biocultural territories, climate change, traditional knowledge, livelihoods, well-being


  • J. Marina Apgar Marina’s main research interests are in collective processes for endogenous development in times of global change, stemming from years of experience working in action research projects in Latin America with indigenous and non-indigenous communities. She has a Human Ecology PhD in adaptive and endogenous development of Kuna Yala: an indigenous biocultural system and is currently employed as Research and Knowledge Management Officer at the IPCCA Secretariat house in Asociación ANDES in Cusco, Peru.


Socio-ecological production landscapes, or Satoyama-like landscapes are the product of historical co-evolutionary relationships between communities and ecosystems. Most indigenous peoples have historically maintained harmonious relationships within their territories, nurturing the rich biological and cultural diversity found in the world. Today, indigenous peoples are among the most impacted by climate change (UNPFII, 2007). Their landscapes and territories are facing severe impacts of extreme weather events such as droughts or hurricanes, and melting of the permafrost and glaciers and sea level rise as a result of rising temperatures, leading in some cases to relocation of entire communities and in most cases to a weakened ability to sustain livelihoods and well-being and maintain the co-evolutionary relationship with the ecosystems that have enabled their historical resilience. The Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA) initiative is a response to this challenge, empowering indigenous communities to undertake local analysis of the changes and their impacts in order to build appropriate adaptation and mitigation responses that strengthen their socio-ecological systems and enable well-being within their territories.

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