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2024-25 Catalog coming August 5th!

This site is currently under construction. If you are an incoming frosh, rising sophomore or new transfer student, please check back August 5th, when you can browse next year's IntroSems and start applying for priority enrollment in up to 3 seminars per quarter.

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BIO 35N: Catching up with Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Application Deadline: February 10

General Education Requirements

Way SMA


Course Description

Traditional ecological knowledge--the knowledge developed and maintained by local communities over many generations about their natural environment--is increasingly recognized as fundamental to solving environmental problems. In this seminar, we will explore some of the cutting-edge research on traditional ecological knowledge and its conceptual and practical role in ensuring environmental sustainability. 

We will address some key questions. For example, what makes traditional ecological knowledge different from Western science? What led to the recent increase in Western scientists' appreciation of traditional ecological knowledge? How can traditional ecological knowledge inform environmental sustainability in a world that is undergoing rapid climate change, land use change, and biological invasion? And how can Western science complement traditional ecological knowledge to achieve sustainability? The core of this seminar will be discussion based on reading of primary articles. We will also have field trips and learn from guest speakers.

Check out the TEK Stories Podcast produced by BIO35N students in Spring 2022!

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Meet the Instructor: Tadashi Fukami

Tadashi Fukami

“I grew up near Tokyo, but my parents used to take my brothers and me to our grandparents’ place in the countryside in Wakayama. My exposure to nature there in early childhood--through fishing, tide pooling, insect catching, bird watching, etc.—was a main reason why I developed an interest in ecology. This interest was reinforced by my high-school biology teacher who talked about natural history around the school in every class. After attending Waseda University for my bachelor’s degree and the University of Tokyo for my master’s degree, I did my Ph.D. study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I then went to New Zealand to work at the research institute called Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, where I was introduced to the importance of traditional ecological knowledge to biological conservation and restoration. After that, I was at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a few years before moving to Stanford in 2008.”

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