Safeguarding the Uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau: An Ecoregional Assessment of Biocultural Diversity
Edited by Gary P. Nabhan and Luisa Maffi
Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University, Terralingua, and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, 2002
Safeguarding the Uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau is the outcome of a partnership among the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University, the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, Terralingua, and the Colorado Plateau’s Native American tribes. This collaborative project aimed to develop a pioneering assessment of the Colorado Plateau as a biocultural region. The assessment reveals the close relationships, both historical and present-day, between humans and the environment in this unique North American ecoregion and provides a snapshot of the present condition of and outlook for the region’s biocultural diversity.
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The reasons for choosing the Colorado Plateau for this pilot project become readily apparent from the book’s chapters, which bring together and synthesize for the first time a wide range of data on the natural and cultural makeup of the plateau, including original fieldwork and interviews with a wide range of stakeholders. The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s five most biologically diverse ecoregions and perhaps the most diverse of that subcontinent both linguistically and agriculturally. It also features high levels of biological as well as linguistic endemism. The significance of the Colorado Plateau is enhanced by the persistent vitality of the numerous Native American tribes that have traditionally lived on and cared for the land, and whose traditional knowledge is encoded in their languages.
At the same time, the plateau and its Indigenous and local inhabitants are increasingly under threat from a variety of economic, social, and political pressures that are bringing about rapid detrimental change. That lends urgency to the need to devise innovative action to protect and perpetuate the region’s biocultural diversity, by including First Nations as key stakeholders and partners in conservation and restoration projects, and by strengthening their cultural and linguistic heritage as an intrinsic component of any such efforts.
If “living as if biocultural diversity matters” is the goal, then the Colorado Plateau is a meaningful place to start.
Contributors: Luisa Maffi, Gary P. Nabhan, Patrick Pynes, Tony Joe, Thomas D. Sisk, Lawrence E. Stevens, David Seibert
|Dimensions||31 × 23.5 × 1 cm|