Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: August 2012

18 - Pheasant conservation, sacred groves and local culture in Sichuan, China

from Part V - Sacred Animals

Summary

Introduction

Natural resources and people are intrinsically linked: religious, moral, cultural, political, economic and ecological boundaries have all shaped environmental use and perceptions (Gosling, 2001). Historically, attitudes and behaviour towards the environment and sustainable use of resources have been greatly affected and determined by nature worship and spiritual values (Khumbongmayum et al., 2004; Byers et al., 2001). To develop moral standards towards the community and local habitats, many cultures have formed values and beliefs to control acceptable behaviour (Goldstein and Kapstein, 1998; Laird, 1993). Conceptual traditions have, as a result, placed high values on protecting the environment and biodiversity. In this chapter we describe the relationship between cultural values (including spiritual beliefs) and nature in western Sichuan, China. Specifically, we introduce Doacheng County and its people, indicate the importance of China to global wildlife conservation and especially for pheasants, and explore the potential for traditional beliefs to play a meaningful role in conserving certain species and habitats.

Sichuan

The link between cultural and biological diversity is clearly demonstrated in south-west China with cultural and historic ties to mountain landscapes and ecosystems. With more than 30 different ethnic minority groups many landscapes are regarded as sacred, in particular those of the Tibetan people (Xu et al., 2006). Tibetan society is dominated by Buddhism, which plays a central role, and its core notions of karma, reincarnation and enlightenment define the basic meaning of life and morality (Goldstein and Kapstein, 1998). Buddhism also influences daily Tibetan life, which is considered to be a non-material cycle of cause and effect, with reincarnation determined by human behaviour (Xu, 2006).

References
BirdLife International 2001 Threatened Birds of AsiaCambridgeBird Life International
BirdLife International 2005 Fact Sheet SummaryCambridgeBird Life International
Byers, B. A.Cunliffe, R.Hudak, A. T. 2001 Linking the conservation of culture and nature: a case study of sacred forests in ZimbabweJournal of Human Ecology 29 187
Chandrakanth, M. G.Bhat, M. G.Accavva, M. S. 2004 Socio-economic changes and sacred groves in South India: protecting a community-based resource management institutionNatural Resources Forum 28 102
Fuller, R. AGarson, P. J 2000 Pheasants: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 2000–2004Switzerland and CambridgeUK and World Pheasant Association
Goldstein, M. C.Kapstein, M. T. 1998 Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet – Religious Revival and Cultural IdentityBerkeley, CA: University of California
Gosling, D. L. 2001 Religion and Ecology in India and Southeast AsiaLondonRoutledge
IUCN 2007 www.iucnredlist.org
Kaiser, F. G.Wolfing, S.Fuhurer, U. 1999 Environmental attitude and ecological behaviourJournal of Environmental Psychology 19 1
Khumbongmayum, A. D.Khan, M. K.Tripathi, R. S. 2004 Sacred groves of Manipur – ideal centres for biodiversity conservationConservation Science 87 430
Kontoleon, A.Swanson, T.Wang, Q. 2002 Optimal ecotourism: the economic value of the giant panda in ChinaValuing the Environment in Developing Countries – Case StudiesPearce, D.Pearce, C., C.CheltenhamEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd206
Laird, S. A. 1993 http://www.agroforestry.net/overstory/overstory93.html
Office of Daocheng County 2004
Pack-Blumenau, A. P.Wang, N.Grabowski, K. H. 2003 White-eared pheasant, monasteries and tourist developmentTragopan 18 18
Sullivan, C. 2002 CheltenhamEdward Elgar377
Wang, N. 2007
Xiama, Z. 2002 Buddhism infection on Tibetan life, preference of numeral and colourChina Tibet 94 51
Xie, H.Wang, X.Xu, J 2000 The impacts of Tibetan culture on biodiversity and natural landscapes in Zhongdian, southwest ChinaLinks between Cultures and Biodiversity: Proceedings of the Cultures and Biodiversity CongressXu, JKunmingYunnan Science and Technology Press
Xu, J. 2006 The political, social, and ecological transformation of a landscape. The case of rubber in Xishuangbanna, ChinaMountain Research and Development 26 254
Xu, J.Wilkes, A. 2004 Biodiversity impact analysis in northwest Yunnan, southwest ChinaBiodiversity and Conservation 13 959
Xu, J.Ma, E. TTashi, D. 2006 Integrating sacred knowledge for conservation: cultures and landscapes in southwest ChinaEcology and Society 10 www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss2/art7/
Zheng, G. M.Wang, Q. S. 1998 China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals: AvesBeijing, Hong Kong, New YorkScience Press