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|Keywords:||ธรรมชาติกับวัฒนธรรม;สังคมไทย;biodiversity;culture;traditional knowledge;ecotechnology;natural capital;sustainable development;globalization|
|Abstract:||Modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved from their ancestors in Africa some 200,000 years ago. Later on, some of them emigrated out of Africa to Asia and Europe around 65,000 and 40,000 years ago, respectively. From then on, humans have continued their population expansion and have become a global species living today amidst a diversity of life. Biodiversity is the variety of life forms – microorganisms, flora and fauna including humans – at all livels of organization from genes to populations, species and ecological systems existems throughout the world. Hence biodiversity is a legacy of evolutionary processes which fundamentally involve genetic dadptation and genomic evolution. This variety of life has long been and continues to be an essential resource for human survival in terms of food, medicines, housing and clothing as well as ecological services including aesthetics and ecotourism. Thus, the development of civilizations and cultural evolution has had synergistic relations with the natural biological world. Thailand is a relatively small country with a total area of about 0.34% of the world mainland but she is rich in biodiversity comprising approximately 6-10% of the total species known thus far. In the past, 70% of the total land area was covered with various kinds of tropical forests providing terrestrial and aquatic habitats for life forms in complex ecosystems. This biological nature that surrounded the local community has influenced the development of folklore, cultural diversity and local technology or traditional knowledge. Such local wisdom has been perpetuated by being passed down from generation to generation. The Thai people lived peacefully and sustainably surrounded by the balanced and green environment for many centuries until the 1960s when the Thai government launched the first National Economic and Social Development Plan. Such modernization in industry and agriculture accompanying globalization trends in capitalism and unsustainable development led to deforestation and environmental problems including climate change and global warming. As a consequence, there has been tremendous loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. Many species have become endangered and some are at critical population levels and prone to extinction if action is not taken to save them. Furthermore, Thai culture and society have been influenced by the globalization trend to some extent. However, there is a trend amongst scholars and local people to promote the conservation and management of biodiversity which is indeed natural capital for sustainable development. This is in accordance with the King’s Philosophy of a sufficiency economy in order to balance capitalism. Sustainable use and conservation of these bioresources basically depend on scientific knowledge coupled with local wisdom which has been called “ecotechnology”. This is an alternative education system to promote basic and applied research in multidiscipline relating to biodiversity and local communities, encompassing local history, geography, economics, culture, society and humanity. This line of approach is aimed for a better understanding of local communities and bioresources and how to sustainably develop and efficiently manage them.|
|Appears in Collections:||Biology: National Journal Publications|
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