People and conservation unit annotated bibliography on traditional resource rights

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Updated: November 2000
This annotated bibliographic database was prepared by Mr Graham Dutfield of

the Working Group on Traditional Resource Rights (WGTRR), through the financial support of WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature.
This database is a cross- and multi-disciplinary collection of written works on indigenous peoples, biodiversity conservation, intellectual property rights, the genetic resource trade, and traditional resource rights. It is an extensive collection of published works and ‘grey literature’, most of which can be found in the library of the Working Group on Traditional Resources Rights, located at Oxford University. As such it does not claim to cover either of the above topics in a comprehensive manner. Rather, it provides a thorough introduction for specialists in any one of these fields who would like to be introduced to the best available literature in overlapping areas of concern. For example, scientists whose expertise lies in conservation biology can use the database to access literature on, say, patent law, research ethics, or traditional environmental management systems. An economist or lawyer working on the environmental impacts of international trade can find a wealth of references concerning the links between biotechnology, bioprospecting, intellectual property rights and the environment, and the trade in non-timber forest products. Advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples can find out about the wealth of literature on human rights, land rights, cultural property rights, and on the importance of protecting traditional ecological knowledge.
In this sense the bibliography is unique in its breadth of coverage, and should be of use to conservation professionals, pro-conservation and indigenous rights advocates, policy makers, and all agencies involved in sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and indigenous and local community rights.
The programme employed is EndNote Plus 2, a database manager which can generate multiple bibliographies on specific subjects and geographical regions, and in a wide range of styles. The programme divides entries into the following reference types: Journal articles; Books; Book sections; Edited books; Magazine articles; Newspaper articles; Conference proceedings; Theses; Reports (such as official United Nations documents, and materials produced by NGOs, such as pamphlets, brochures, reports, special studies, and communiqués); Magazines or Journals (including single thematic issues); Internet articles; Conference papers; and Patents. Each of the 1,500 entries contains keywords and abstracts, allowing for detailed searches.
In the keywords and elsewhere in the database, the following terms and acronyms recur frequently: indigenous peoples, conservation, protected areas, ecosystems management, traditional knowledge, medicinal plants, traditional health, NTFPs, IPRs, CBD, TRIPS, WTO, FAO, WIPO, UPOV, patents, copyright, trademarks, geographical indications, appellations of origin. It is also worth trying geographical terms and names of ethnic groups.
For information on the availability of the EndNote programme and to acquire a trial version, contact the EndNote Website (
This version is an annotated reference list in Microsoft Word 7.0. This version doesn’t have the same searching capabilities, but does contain essentially the same information.
WWF International has a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty free licence to use the work, and to modify and/or reproduce it in whole or in part. WGTRR retains copyright over the work.
For more information on the database or to provide updates, please contact the author:
Mr Graham Dutfield

St Peter’s College

Oxford OX1 2DL


For more information of WWF's activities related to indigenous and traditional peoples, please contact:
Gonzalo T. Oviedo C.

Head, People and Conservation

WWF International

27 Av. du Mont-Blanc

1196 Gland, Switzerland

Tel. +41 22 364 95 42

Fax +41 22 364 58 29

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (1995). Recognition, Rights and Reform: Report to Government on Native Title Social Justice Measures. Woden, ATSIC.

Report submitted to the government with recommendations on social justice for indigenous peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (1995). Indigenous Social Justice: Strategies and Recommendations. Sydney, Office of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner.

Recommendations for the Australian government to support the human rights of indigenous Australians.

Abram, M. B. (1991). “Human Rights and the United Nations: Past as Prologue.” Harvard Human Rights Journal 4: 69-83.

Analysis of UN human rights institutions from the perspective of a representative of the United States government. The UN Commission on Human Rights is strongly criticised, in part due to the dominance of a Third World agenda that places equal if not greater emphasis on social and economic rights (such as the right to development) as on civil and political rights.

Achanta, A. and P. Ghosh (1994). Technology Transfer and Environment. Biodiplomacy. V. Sanchez and C. Juma. Nairobi, ACTS: 157-175.

Analysis of implications for and considerations involved in the technology transfer provisions of the CBD and the Climate Change Convention. The paper critiques the developed world’s attitude towards IPRs by discussing the appropriateness of potential technology transferred, the scope of protection offered by IPRs and the aspects that will have to be included in future agreements so as to protect the interests of the developing world.

Achar, K. P. (1997). Documentation of People’s Knowledge and Perceptions about Biodiversity and Conservation through People’s Biodiversity Registers at Mala Village Panchayat, Karkala Taluk, Karnataka State. Karkala, India, Sri Bhuvanendra College.

The Biodiversity Conservation Prioritization Project launched by WWF India undertakes local-level initiatives to enhance understanding of the conflicts and consensus in various social sectors over biodiversity and local knowledge and perceptions about sustainable utilisation, in order to formulate feasible conservation strategies. Mala Panchayat is one of the project’s study villages. The exercise highlighted the dire need for multisectoral, locality specific, adaptive, pro-people management of biodiversity.

Acharya, R. (1992). Intellectual Property, Biotechnology and Trade: The Impact of the Uruguay Round on Biodiversity. Nairobi and Maastricht, African Centre for Technology Studies.

The GATT negotiations have not included breeders’ rights or farmers’ rights. Their emphasis on patents shows that action to conserve biodiversity must be outside the framework of GATT. However, operating outside GATT might lead to confrontations with the USA. Developing countries should therefore bargain collectively rather than reject GATT. Author argues that developing countries can gain much biotechnological knowledge that is already in the public domain. These benefits available may be greater that those from repudiating the common heritage concept of genetic resource access.

Acosta G., I. (1994). The Guaymi Patent Claim. Voices of the Earth: Indigenous Peoples, New Partners and the Right to Self-determination in Practice. L. v. d. Vlist. Amsterdam, NCIV & International Books: 44-51.

Describes the Human Genome Diversity Project and explains the circumstances behind a patent application for a cell line derived from a blood sample acquired from a Guaymi woman.

Ad-Hoc Group on Biodiversity of Colombia (1997). Legal Debate: International Seminar: Development of the Andean Regime Regarding: Access to Genetic Resources Identification of Biodiversity and its Benefits. Elements for National Studies Regarding a Regime for Protecting Traditional Knowledge, Santafe de Bogota.

Synthesis of proposals and debates from a seminar dealing with aspects of the Andean Pact common regime on access to genetic resources.

Adachi, B. C. (1983). Living National Treasures. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo & New York, Kodansha Ltd: 60-61.

Explains the role of the Bearers of Important Cultural Assets (Living Treasures) in the protection of the Japanese cultural heritage.

Adams, K. M. (1990). “Cultural Commoditization in Tana Toraja, Indonesia.” Cultural Survival Quarterly 14(1): 31-34.

The rich cultural heritage of the Toraja people of Indonesia is a powerful tourist attraction. This article illustrates the conflicts that arise when tourism and tourism planning are inflicted on local communities without any consideration of the Toraja people’s rights or cultural values.

Adams, W. M. (1990). Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World. London, Routledge.

The late 1980s saw an astonishing growth in apparently ‘green’ ideas in the development field. This book analyses the evolution of the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and assesses how it is applied in the real world. The book tackles the heart of the debate by bridging the gulf between environmental and development studies. It argues that the ‘greenness’ of development planning is not to be found in a simple concern for the environment, but in a new understanding of the politics of the development process and the power of the poor to control and determine the future of their own environment.

Adams, J. S. and T. O. McShane (1996). The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation Without Illusion. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, University of California Press.

Conservation policy in Africa has been founded upon a romantic notion of Africa as a wild Eden for wildlife which negates a meaningful role for African people. Instead, conservation policy must treat Africans as the solution and not the problem.

Adler, R. G. (1984). “Biotechnology as an Intellectual Property.” Science 224(4647): 357-363.

Recent advances in biotechnology have created many public policy and legal issues, one of which is the treatment of biotechnological industrial products, particularly under the patent system. In this article biotechnological IPR issues are reviewed in the context of their underlying legal requirements. The implications of other factors, such as international competition, research funding, and gene ownership, are also considered.

Advisory Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy (1995). Collective Rights. The Hague, Advisory Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy.

Discussion on the issue of collective human rights which finds that there is a great lack of clarity in the relevant literature and in the international debate as to the nature and significance of collective rights, and whether they can be termed human rights. The paper argues that since the significance, status and validity of collective rights are likely to remain contentious for some time to come, it is necessary to analyse and define the concept with a maximum of precision, and to specify as far as possible their substance.

African Centre for Technology Studies (1993). International Conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity: National Interests and Global Imperatives. Nairobi, Kenya, ACTS Press.

Report of conference, which was essentially a dialogue between the research community and policy makers. The objectives were: to identify ways of translating the CBD into national and international implementation programmes; to generate ideas for protocols to the Convention and clarification of its provisions; to consider the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Forum; to assist research institutions in formulating research programmes that will contribute to further negotiations on the Convention and its implementation.

African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (1994). African Common Perspectives and Position on the Convention on Biological Diversity. Based on the Working Document: The Convention on Biiological Diversity: Issues of Relevance to Africa, AMCEN.

Presents the joint position of African states on the CBD.

Agarwal, A. and S. Narain (1996). Pirates in the Garden of India. New Scientist: 14-15.

Condemnation of the infamous patent on use of turmeric as a wound healing agent, a well-known ‘grandmother’s remedy’ in India.

Agrawal, A. (1995). “Dismantling the Divide between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge.” Development and Change 26: 413-39.

Recently, scholarly discussions have characterised indigenous knowledge as a significant resource for development. This article interrogates the concept of indigenous knowledge and the strategies its advocates present to promote development, and suggests that the concept of indigenous knowledge and its role in development are problematic issues. To productively engage indigenous knowledge in development, we must go beyond the dichotomy of indigenous vs scientific, and work towards greater autonomy for indigenous peoples.

Agrawal, A. (1995). “Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge: Some Critical Comments.” Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor 3(3): 3-6.

The distinction between indigenous and Western/scientific knowledge can present problems for those who believe in the significance of indigenous knowledge for development. This article examines some of the contradictions and ironies involved in accenting the importance of indigenous knowledge, with a view to eliciting a dialogue on the subject. The last part of the article tentatively explores a number of possible ways out of the dilemma.

Agyare, A. K. (1993). Partnership with Indigenous People in Sustainable Natural Resource Use: A Case In Ghana. July 28-30. I. I. P. Symposium. Zuni, New Mexico.

In an area of Ghana two groups of Ewe speaking people live next to a Game Production Reserve which is supposed to be managed to produce wild animals for bushmeat. Traditions of sustainable natural resource management have been lost due to demographic pressure, drought and mass unemployment leading to environmental degradation. This has brought pressure for reserve land and conflict between the local people and the department responsible for the management of the reserve.

Aisenberg, I. M. (1982). “Unpublished Knowledge Abroad Can Preclude Patentability.” IDEA-The Journal of Law and Technology 23(2): 45-47.

A court case in the United States established that a patent application can be rejected if the invention depended on unpublished information obtained from somebody in another country.

Ajai, W. (1993). Critical Legal Issues in Developing and Implementing Nature Conservation Policy and Strategy in a Typical African Common Law Country: Some Lessons From the Nigerian Experience. January 26-29. I. C. o. t. C. o. B. D. N. I. a. G. Imperatives. Nairobi, Kenya.

Unless the political, social and economic relations are altered and democratised the milieu for the effective conservation of biodiversity cannot reasonably be expected to exist. Author suggests various reasons of reforming the legal and administrative framework and mechanism. African countries should look inward, mobilise human and material resources among themselves and in particular implement existing Africa conventions as an effective springboard for instigating the developed countries for fulfil their own obligations under the CBD.

Ajai, O. O. (1994). Integrating Biodiversity Conservation in Sectoral Laws & Policies: A Case Study of Nigeria with Considerations for Developing Countries. Widening Perspectives on Biodiversity. A. F. Krattiger, J. A. McNeely, W. H. Lesseret al. Gland & Geneva, IUCN & IAE: 101-108.

Identifies capacity building as the key obstacle for African countries trying to implement the CBD. Recommends the use of African experts for African policy analysis where possible.

Akerkar, S. (1996). Attaining Autonomy. Down to Earth: 5.

After a great deal of campaigning by the tribal peoples (adivasis) of India, the national government agreed to implement a report that provides for the placing of control over lands and resources in the hands of the adivasis.

Albers-Schonberg, G. (1995). The Pharmaceutical Discovery Process. Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity Conservation: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Values of Medicinal Plants. T. Swanson. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 67-92.

Describes the nature of modern pharmaceutical science, tracing some of the concepts of modern drug discovery during the last 150 years. Two examples are given to show how chemical experience, rational methods and ‘natural products’ work together in the development of a pharmaceutical, and these are contrasted with three recent discoveries of extraordinary drugs given to us by nature. The article concludes by summarising the relative merits of the two approaches and discussing biodiversity issues that are extremely important for pharmaceutical innovation.

Albers-Schonberg, G. (1996). Higher Plants Versus Microorganisms: Their Future in Pharmaceutical Research. Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest: Biodiversity and Its Importance to Human Health. New York, Columbia University Press: 75-77.

Merck has started a plant screening programme, and this paper explains why in the words of one of the company’s scientists.

Alcorn, J. B. (1992). Conservation of Cultural and Biological Diversity: Frames of Discourse, Analysis and Action. 10-14 November 1992. T. I. C. o. Ethnobiology. Mexico City.

Biological and cultural diversity are mutually dependent. The separation of the two by conservation policy makers locked into a Eurocentric ‘scientific’ mindset leads to a trend from community property to open access property along with environmental degradation. Research should be participatory, meeting the needs of the participating communities and governed by a code of ethics.

Alcorn, J. B. (1993). “Indigenous Peoples and Conservation.” Conservation Biology 7(2): 424-426.

Author argues that partnerships with indigenous peoples offer the best option for achieving conservation. This requires recognition of indigenous peoples as equals in negotiations.

Alcorn, J. B. (1993). “Economic Botany, Conservation and Development: What’s the Connection?” submitted to Annals of the Missouri Botanic Garden.

The linkages between economic botany and development are often considered, but not those between economic botany and conservation. Recognition of common property management systems leads us to recognise the positive linkage between the latter. The challenge then is to find ways to support local initiatives to link economic development with the conservation of biotic resources and traditional systems of knowledge including common property resource management systems.

Alcorn, J. B. (1994). “Noble Savage or Noble State? Northern Myths and Southern Realities in Biodiversity Conservation.” Etnoecologica 2(3): 7-19.

Author argues that indigenous peoples conserve biodiversity. Conservation biologists’ charges that indigenous conservation is a myth are unfounded. Supporting evidence is: the association of indigenous peoples’ homelands with areas of high diversity; the existence of biodiversity conservation institutions and techniques; indigenous peoples’ statements about their own actions and concerns; evidence of attempts to adopt new conservation practices in response to stresses; and comparisons with activities by non-indigenous peoples in the same area.

Alexander, D. (1993). “Some Themes in Intellectual Property and the Environment.” Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 2(2): 113-120.

The relationship between intellectual property and environmental protection is a complex one. The author calls on IPR lawyers to cooperate to ensure that IPRs support the objectives of environmental protection.

Alexander, B. and C. Alexander (1996). The Vanishing Arctic. London, Cassell.

Focuses on some of the main groups of people who call the Arctic their home, showing their way of life and culture, as well as the landscape and wildlife. In spite of the rather pessimistic title, the book describes some highly adaptable and resilient cultures that remain viable in spite of the disruptive impacts of European bans on imports of sealskins and furs, and the development of oil and gas fields in many Arctic regions.

Alexander, D. (Forthcoming). Intellectual Property and the Environment. London, Cameron May.

Intellectual property protection for living organisms and the products of biotechnology has assumed increasing significance in recent years. So too have mechanisms for granting rights in respect of existing genetic resources. This book explains the law concerning the grant of intellectual property rights over new kinds of living matter and protection for biological resources. It covers the important recent developments in European Union, UK and international law, including the European Patent Convention and the Biodiversity Convention. The book also discusses the policies underlying protection for living matter, the recent legislative initiatives and the Oncomouse and Plant Genetic Systems cases.

Alexiades, M. N. and D. D. Lacaze (1996). FENEMAD’s Program in Traditional Medicine: An Integrated Approach to Health Care in the Peruvian Amazon. Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest: Biodiversity and Its Importance to Human Health. M. J. Balick, E. Elisabetsky and S. A. Laird. New York, Columbia University Press: 341-365.

Documents the integral link between health and culture change among the indigenous population of the Madre de Dios region in Amazonian Peru, illustrating how current health problems are inextricably linked to the social, cultural and ecological consequences of colonisation and development. The approach utilised by the health programme of the regional indigenous federation (FENAMAD) to improve living conditions is discussed within this wider context of health.

Alford, W. P. (1992). “Intellectual Property Trade and Taiwan: A GATT-Fly’s View.” Colombia Business Law Review 1992(1): 97-107.

GATT since the 1980s has treated trade and intellectual property as interrelated issues. The USA has forcefully expressed concerns about piracy by some of its trading partners, including the use of exaggerated estimates of the dollar cost of piracy. Many in the US assume that political pressure on ‘offending’ countries has been successful. The author takes the view that Taiwan would have tightened up its IPR laws anyway simply because it is becoming more developed. In any case such pressure provokes indignation towards the US. For other countries it is unrealistic to expect externally imposed IPR regimes to succeed.

Allanique, C. P. (1989). Philippines Bans Export of Lumber. Penang, Third World Network.

Following the Thai ban on logging, the Philippines has now banned the export of lumber because of growing wood shortage. But exporters are fighting back.

Alwis, G. P. (1993). In Search of Sustainable Development: An Experience from Sri Lankan Tradition. Dehiwala, Swarna Hansa Foundation.

Explains the environmental ethic of Sri Lankans.

Ampofo, O., H. Girardet, et al. (1993). Transcript of the Interview between Dr Oku Ampofo, Herbert Girardet & Diane Robertson. Mampong, Ghana.

Discussion on traditional medical knowledge in Ghana.

Ancient Forest International (1990). Acquisition and Stewardship of Cani Preserve.

AFI and its affiliate AFI-Chile are raising funds to purchase a tract of pristine araucaria pine forest in Chile

Anderson, A. B. and D. A. Posey (1989). “Management of a Tropical Scrub Savanna by the Gorotire Kayapo of Brazil.” Advances in Economic Botany

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