Ethnoecology

The Ethnoecology and Biodiversity Lab serves as a venue for collaboration between natural and social scientists, locally and internationally, on research focusing on human cognition, decision making, and behavior in relation to natural resources, particularly with respect to the conservation of agrobiodiversity and foodways. The goal is to understand human-environment interaction in terms of the relative cognitive salience of environmental components such as plants, animals, water, and soils for different groups of people so that these local perceptions and classifications may be used with "objective" or "detached" scientific ones in explaining and influencing resource management practices and policies.

Driven by the need to understand the compelling affective and sensory dimensions of biodiversity conservation, the lab has developed a new interest revolving around landscapes and senses of place. A modestly-equipped kitchen presently allows students to explore these more nuanced cultural and affective dimensions that account for persistence of biodiversity and identity. Emerging themes like transnationalism, food identities, and place are being pursued in connection with marginality and memory.