The Erosion of Biodiversity and Culture
Bankura District of West Bengal as an Illustrative Locale
Keywords:Bankura, Biodiversity, Biophilia, Culture, Endangered Species, Forest, Wildlife
The decimation of biodiversity at the species, genetic, and ecosystem levels as a direct consequence of the industrial resource use mode is well documented in human ecology and conservation literature. Not only wild biota but also domesticated crop landraces have been pushed to extinction by industrial land-use systems. The process of biodiversity erosion impinges on, and is augmented by, the decimation of local cultural elements, such as food cultures, the vocabularies of local languages, house architecture, and an inchoate appreciation of the non-use value of biodiversity, i.e., beyond its instrumental value. This process of biocultural erosion is evident in the district of Bankura, West Bengal, India, and this article collates evidence from over two decades of my research on the biodiversity and cultural elements of the region. The replacement of a traditional eco-centric ethic with an industrial ethic, and its consequent impacts on biodiversity and local cultural traditions in this region, is illustrative of the global process of biodiversity loss.
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