Linking biological and cultural diversity in Europe

The coneference Linking Biological and Cultural Diversity in Europe (whilst sampling the locally sourced and traditionally farmed produce of Tuscany) held earlier this year (8-11th April 2014) in Florence, Italy focused on the theme "cultural diversity is as important for humans as biological diversity is for nature".

This breakthrough conference is undoubtedly the first of many that will discuss the importance of biological and cultural diversity and its complex interactions. This provided a unique opportunity for participants to be involved in multidisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists. Of course it helped that there was the added bonus of a stunning host city and a field excursion to the historic Tuscan landscape of Lamole… 

This was the 1st European Conference for the Implementation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Joint Programme on Biological and Cultural Diversity. Here, UK landscapes and the interactions of cultural and biological diversity were represented by presentations from two IALE UK committee members, Grace Twiston-Davies and Jess Neumann.

This was an enlightening and diverse conference and all the participants received a warm welcome and were treated to the best produce Tuscany has to offer. However, the majority of presentations described rather than measured the effects of traditional land management for cultural and biological diversity and there was a distinct lack of applied ecological studies. This indicates that the representation of applied ecological research at future conferences dealing with the links of Biological and Cultural diversity is highly recommended.

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