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Woodley, Ellen

Independent, Canada (Biodiversity and culture)
Cultural Affairs Adviser (Western Province), mid-1990s (CUSO)


Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details

Currently working as a consultant for the International non-profit NGO, Terralingua.

Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Guelph in Interdisciplinary Rural Studies; also hold two M.Sc. degrees (1983 in Arctic Ecology; 1991 in International Rural Planning and Development)

Address: 6220 Fifth Line, RR4, Fergus, Ontario N1M 2W5 Canada;
Phone: 1 519 843 2893; Email: tegwood@xplornet.com; Skype: ellen.woodley


My work as a botanist in Papua New Guinea in the mid-1980s fuelled my interest in Melanesia and I took on the position of Cultural Affairs Advisor for the Western Province Government in the Solomon Islands from 1993-1995 as a Canadian volunteer (CUSO cooperant).  This was followed by my field research for a PhD in 1999-2000, when I worked with two communities on Vella Lavella – Uzamba and Valapata.  The research was designed to better understand and represent local ecological knowledge so that it could effectively guide resource management and conservation issues in Western Province.  My work since then has largely been concerned with the integration of cultural affirmation and diversity with biological diversity.  This is of utmost relevance to the people of Western Province since knowledge, practices and beliefs are intimately tied to local biodiversity – and the loss of one will directly impact the other. With ecosystem degradation there is a loss of cultural ties to the land, and when cultural ties to the land are severed, there is less interest in conserving local biodiversity   Integrated conservation approaches are really only newly emerging in policy and practice and my work has been involved in increasing the visibility of the approach to conservation policy makers while supporting the small and often indigenous communities where culture and biodiversity are implicitly linked in the way that people live and how it forms their cultural identity.

Key publications/reports/materials

Maffi, L. and E. Woodley and others. 2007, Biodiversity and Culture. Section 9 of Chapter 5, Biodiversity, GEO 4 Report, UNEP.

Woodley, E., Crowley, E. and others. 2008. Cultural indicators of Indigenous Peoples' food and agro-ecological systems.  For UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC).

Maffi, L. and E. Woodley. In press. Global Source Book on Biocultural Diversity: Worldwide Experiences in an Integrated Approach to the Conservation of Biodiversity and Culture (forthcoming 2008). Progress report available at http://www.terralingua.org/GSBBCD.htm.

Harmon, D. J. Loh, and others (E. Woodley).  In preparation for the World Conservation Congress, Oct 2008.  Measuring and Monitoring State and Trends in Biodiversity and Culture. Background paper presented at the symposium“Sustaining Cultural and Biological Diversity in a Rapidly Changing World: Lessons for Global Policy” for the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, April 2-5, 2008.

Woodley, E. 2005.  Local and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge as an Emergent Property of a Complex System: A Case Study in the Solomon Islands, In: Source Book on Participatory Research and Development. CIP-UPWARD (International Potato Center-Users' Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development) IDRC and IFAD.
Ericksen, P. and E. Woodley, E.  2005.  Using Multiple Knowledge Systems: Benefits and Challenges.  Chapter 5. Multiscale Assessments Volume 4 of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (eds Capistrano, D., Samper, C.K., Lee, M.J and Raudsepp-Hearne, C.).

Woodley, E. 2004.  Local and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge as an Emergent Property of a Complex System: A Case Study in the Solomon Islands.  Paper presented at Bridging Scales and Epistemologies Conference, Alexandria, Egypt, March 17-20, 2004.

Woodley, E. 2001. Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in Sustainable Use of Biodiversity Projects. Presentation and Report for IDRC, November 13, 2001, Montreal, Quebec.

Woodley, E. 2001. Taro Caught in the Web of Change: Food Security on Vella Lavella, Solomon Island. Paper presented to the annual Conference of the Association of the Society of Anthropologists for Oceania (ASAO), February, 2001, Florida, USA.

Gregor, D., Armitage, D., Tegler, B. Woodley, E and othersAquatic Ecosystem Assessment of Great Slave Lake. Report submitted to Environment Canada.

Woodley, E. 1999. Indigenous Ecological Knowledge for Resource Management:
Constraints to Implementation (paper presented for Qualifying Exam, University of Guelph)

Woodley, E. and Wasteneys, C.  1998. An Evaluation Report on the Forestry II Afforestation Project in Northern Nigeria: A Success Story in Desertification and Land Degradation Control. Prepared for United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.

Woodley, E. 1998.Ranonggan Carvers: Stories and River Stones   Paradise
Magazine, 127: 53-55.

Woodley, E. 1994. Effects of Habitat on Variations of Phenology and Nutrient Concentration Among Four Plant Species of the Alexandra Fjord Lowland.  In: Ecology of a Polar Oasis, Alexandra Fjord, Ellesmere Island, Canada.  Svoboda, J. and B. Freedman (eds).  Captus University Publications.

Woodley, E. 1992.  Aquatic Vascular Plants of Georgian Bay Islands National Park.  Geomatics International: for Parks Canada.

Woodley, E. 1992.  Management of Old Fields in Ontario. Geomatics International:       for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Woodley, E. 1991.  Medicinal Plants of Papua New Guinea Part I: Morobe Province.    Verlag Josef Margraf, Germany.

Woodley, E. 1991.  Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Development.  In:     Agriculture and Human Values 8(1,2):173-178.

Woodley, E. 1987.  Traditional Medicine.  Paradise Magazine, No. 62, Papua New        Guinea.



Woodley - Indigenous knowledge (paper).pdf

Woodley (2002) Local Knowledge in Vella Lavella( PhD Thesis).pdf

Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011