Mix and Match in the Biocultural World

The concept of biocultural diversity is still relatively new and yet there are already many different variations of the term out there (like biocultural perspective, biocultural restoration, or biocultural education, to name just a few). In fact, we had found 191 different terms that are used together with biocultural (Read more on this here and here). This was based on the paper “Biocultural approaches to sustainability: A systematic review of the scientific literature” published in 2020, where my colleagues identified 178 papers published between 1990 and 2018 which deal with biocultural topics. These were then analyzed, and all the different terms where identified and coded in a separate study, using the software MAXQDA.

Now, I took a closer look at how the terms are jointly used and co-occur in the different scientific papers. That means, I then used MaxQDA to find out which terms are mentioned together in one paper. Of course, with so many different terms, this created a very messy graph, so I had to narrow it down a bit and focus on the most important findings. Therefore, I excluded all terms, which were mentioned less than five times together with at least one other term in all papers.

This means that some terms were excluded which were mentioned more often, but not more than four times in combination with others, such as biocultural history (mentioned in 6 papers), biocultural study (mentioned in 7 papers) or biocultural hotspot (mentioned in 5 papers).  In the end, I was left with 19 different terms and I visualized their co-occurrence (Fig.1).

The biocultural terms that where mentioned most frequently together in scientific articles
The biocultural terms that where mentioned most frequently together in scientific articles. Numbers in brackets give the number of papers that use a given term and the numbers on the lines give the number of articles in which those two terms were jointly used.

Now, if you are still following and interested in the results of this exercise, bear with me, and I will explain:

Obviously, biocultural diversity was the term mentioned most often. From the 178 papers it was mentioned in 134 papers. Most other terms were also mentioned mostly in combination with biocultural diversity. This is why this term is in the middle of the graph.

The terms mentioned the most in combination with biocultural diversity were biocultural heritage and biocultural conservation (28 times each), followed by biocultural value (23 times), biocultural approach (20 times), biocultural landscape and biocultural system (18 times each), and biocultural resource (17 times).

Interesting to note is the common mention of biocultural resource and biocultural knowledge. They were the ones mentioned most often together aside from being mentioned together with the term biocultural diversity.

So now you know a few things about the who with who in the biocultural world.

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