A social-ecological study of human-plant interactions among Nalú and Bijagó communities in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Principal researcher: Hannah Parathian

Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography


Environmental management | Guinea-Bissau | Indigenous knowledge | Nonhuman beings

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date


End date





Environmental management by indigenous people is instrumental in maintaining regions of biological richness, and yet wider cultural, social and political influences erode people's confidence in traditional knowledge and indigenous autonomy. This study uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to record plant use and examine the sociocultural relationships between humans and nonhuman beings among Nalú and Bijagó ethnic groups in West Africa. These topics are explored through the categorisation and valorisation of wildlife based upon Nalú and Bijagó classification and cosmological systems, and through the documentation of cultural practices, harvesting and processing techniques and mechanisms used to manage resources in forest and deltaic coastal landscapes. This research offers a better understanding of the role of indigenous people in the maintenance of resilient dynamic landscapes. Findings will contribute towards a collaborative conservation strategy for Guinea Bissau's protected regions, validating traditional knowledge and helping to safeguard ecological and cultural diversity.


Full members

Amélia Frazão Moreira

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography