Written by Dr. Georgia Holly, Post Doctoral Researcher at the University of Edinburgh, and Edinburgh Marine Archaeology Natural Heritage Specialist

Following on from our week of training and data collection with the Talakdas IP (indigenous peoples) community, Edinburgh Marine Archaeology and C3 have been identifying IP heritage threats in Busuanga, and talking to communities about translating their traditional heritage and ecological knowledge into community-led Marine Protected Area (MPA) management. By visiting four different communities around the island, the team has been able to gather preliminary information on overlapping and opposing threats to community heritage and stability, and is now using this information to identify knowledge and capacity gaps in marine environment and heritage management in IP ancestral waters. This week has primarily given clarity regarding the differing levels of accessibility, pressures, legal situations, infrastructure, and priorities that need to be taken into account for each community situation, as well as the methodologies and measures which need to be adapted and tailored to each site.

C3 and EMA discussing heritage threats with the Depelenged IP Community © Georgia Holly 2023

Next, the team will work towards fully mapping the marine cultural heritage and ecological resources of the communities involved in the project, to paint a clearer picture of both the extent of biocultural heritage resources in IP communities, and the various pressures placed upon them. This work will be used to advocate for the equitable, sustainable, and community-centred management of marine protected areas in Busuanga. Once data collection is complete, Edinburgh Marine Archaeology will be re-joining the C3 team next year to facilitate the integration of traditional ecological, heritage, and scientific knowledge into a series of indigenous-managed-marine-protected-areas (IMMPAs).