Safeguarding sacred landscapes in protected areas can be a challenge for conservationists who may not appreciate how local communities interact with their environment.

Rvalo Nying MonasteryHowever University of Aberdeen research is tackling this problem through working with indigenous and local communities to influence policy and practice at the world’s leading international body on conservation.

South Asia and Himalayan expert Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas has spent years studying biocultural diversity and religion on sacred landscapes in the Himalayas and elsewhere.

We need to learn to see sacred landscapes as vibrant communities inhabited by many sorts of wise being and taught how to inhabit these places by their traditional stewards. That’s the only way we will understand why they support such extraordinary levels of biological and cultural diversity."
Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas

His work has helped conservationists to work together with the human custodians and inhabitants of sacred landscapes and sites and helped indigenous and local communities to become more far more involved in conservation measures.

Policy changes by the World Conservation Union are also helping to deliver more resilient, better protected sites.

Find out more

  • Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas' biography and publications
  • Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research
  • Ethnobiology, Religion, Nature and Culture.Edited by Richard Stepp and Will Tuladhar-Douglas. Journal of Religion, Nature and Culture 6:4. Sheffield: Equinox, December, 2012
  • Sacred Natural Sites: Sources of Biocultural Diversity. 2012. Ed. Bas Verschuuren and Robert Wild. Langscape 2
  • Tuladhar-Douglas, W. "Collusion and Bickering: Landscape, Religion and Ethnicity in the Central Himalayas."Contemporary South Asia 18, no. 3 (2010)