Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (1): 51-60.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.01.006

• Biodiversity Conservation and Use • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Concept, Connotation and Significance of Cultural Keystone Species in Agricultural Heritage Systems

MIN Qingwen1,2,*(), YANG Xiao1,2, DING Lubin1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-07-31 Accepted:2021-10-15 Online:2022-01-30 Published:2022-01-08
  • Contact: MIN Qingwen
  • Supported by:
    The Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23100203)

Abstract:

As a new type of heritage, Agricultural Heritage Systems (AHS), represented by Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) designated by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (NIAHS) designated by some countries’ Ministry of Agriculture, are typical Social-Ecological Systems (SES), which usually are rich in biodiversity, traditional knowledge, resource utilization technology and outstanding cultural landscapes. Cultural Keystone Species (CKS) are defined as the culturally salient species that shape the cultural identity of a people in a major way. CKS can be used as a prominent tool for the synergistic conservation of SES biology and culture, and to promote the overall enhancement of system functions. This paper summarizes a review of the definition of the CKS and its application in SES conservation. According to the characteristics and protection needs of AHS, this paper defined the CKS in AHS as: “Composites of biological resources and cultural practices, which have a significant impact on the stability of local society and culture systems, contribute to the achievement of AHS’ conservation goals.” Based on this definition, we analyzed the significance of the identification of CKS in AHS. First of all, CKS help to quickly identify the key elements of AHS. Secondly, CKS can promote community participation in the conservation and development of AHS. In addition, the identification of CKS has a significant role in food and livelihood security, biodiversity conservation, traditional knowledge and technology transmission, social organization maintenance, and cultural landscape maintenance in AHS, which helps to achieve the conservation goals of GIAHS and/or NIAHS.

Key words: Agricultural Heritage Systems (AHS), Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (NIAHS), Cultural Keystone Species (CKS), biocultural diversity, Social-Ecological Systems (SES)