Wetlands have been at the center of human evolution and the development of this planet’s diverse cultures. Without water we would not exist. While the mission of the SWS is “to promote understanding, conservation, protection, restoration, science-based management, and sustainability of wetlands” the relationship between humans and wetlands at the most basic cultural levels has not been considered. Every culture on the planet relies on some type of wetland. A better understanding of the importance of wetlands to our diverse cultures and traditions provides a new and important dimension to the Society’s mission.
“Wetlands have special attributes as part of the cultural heritage of humanity – they are related to religious and cosmological beliefs and spiritual values, constitute a source of aesthetic and artistic inspiration, yield invaluable archaeological evidence from the remote past, provide wildlife sanctuaries, and form the basis of important local social, economic, and cultural traditions” (Ramsar, 2016). With this in mind, Wetlands is soliciting papers that are focused on the role that wetlands play and played in the emergence and development of our diverse cultures and social structures, and the various aspects of wetlands that are deemed important and define the culture. Inevitably, much of this information is likely to be a part of the culture’s oral history and Wetlands will respect and honor this traditional information and the Intellectual Property Rights of authors and collaborators. Authors are encouraged to assign primary authorship to the individuals that provided the information and follow the Principles of Professional Responsibility as adopted by the Council of the American Anthropological Association and Society of Ethnobiology Code of Ethics (https://ethnobiology.org/about-society-ethnobiology/ethics).
1. Some questions that could be used to help guide/shape manuscripts. We are recommending that we translate Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Scientific Knowledge into compatible and comparable knowledge systems. It is important to acknowledge TEK/TRM are specific to people, place and culture, and are not generalizable.
- Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) - knowledge, practices and beliefs about the relationship of living beings to one another and to the physical environments held by indigenous peoples with a direct dependence on local resources
- Traditional Resource Management (TRM) - multiple species management, resource rotation, managing succession, intermediate disturbance and patch dynamics, and other ways to respond to and manage environmental uncertainty to optimize sustainable resource extraction
2. Did the wetlands shape their respective cultures? If yes, then how or in what ways?
3. Did the people engage in Traditional Resource Management? Are these management practices ecologically wise and relevant today? If so, how and to what end?
4. Did they use one or several types of wetlands? Did they distinguish between the different wetlands on the landscape?
5. What was the culture? Kat Anderson (2005) has recommended not utilizing the archaic anthropological dichotomy of hunter gather versus agrarian. She refers to wildland tending, not agriculture and discusses the anthropology term “hunter-gatherer and forager, connoting a hand-to mouth existence. She talks about the concept of California as “unspoiled, raw, uninhabited nature – as wilderness – erasing indigenous cultures and histories from the land and dispossessing them of their enduring legacy of tremendous biological wealth”. “The aim of the book is to shed new light on the diverse ways… native peoples of California very purposefully harvested, tended and managed the wild… commonly called “traditional ecological knowledge”. Therefore, she does not specifically use the term agriculture, and discounts terms hunter-gatherer and wilderness. Anderson has taken this to the next step and carefully documented and recorded wildland tending, and the ecological and cultural sophistication of this practice by many California tribes. The term TEK and TRM are commonly used.
6. Do wetlands still play an important role in the lives of indigenous and local people?
Michelle has graciously accepted the role of editor for this special feature and I will be her helper. We invite you all to assist in being reviewers and provide suggestions for reviewers if you know of anyone who can help. The Special Feature consists of 6-10 invited articles and in an effort to streamline and expedite the process we will pre-screen the papers and select papers that will be included in the Special Feature. We may recommend valuable papers that for one reason or another do not meet the criteria for this special edition for Wetlands to WSP.
Please go to https://www.springer.com/life+sciences/ecology/journal/13157?detailsPage=pltci_3338316 for the instructions for authors. We will be using the criteria for Original Research (5,000-7,000 words) for articles reporting original research about wetlands, natural or constructed, including, but not limited to mechanisms underlying ecosystem processes, the values of wetlands to society, their management, quality assessment and restoration. The word count should include title, abstract, keywords, body of the text, figures, and tables but excluding authors’ affiliations, references and on-line supplementary material.
Michelle and Ben
Marinus L. Otte, North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences Department