Monday, March 31, 2014

Faces of Ethnobiology: Devon Dublin

My name is Devon Ronald Dublin and I am from Guyana, South America. It is the third smallest country and the only English speaking nation on that continent. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Global Environmental Management in the Graduate School of Environmental Science at Hokkaido University and am attached to the Center of Sustainability Science of the same university. Three keywords describing my work are Satoyama, Sustainability and Indigenous.

Constantly surrounded by nature in my childhood and being a member of the Boy Scouts, I developed an interest in the environment and subsequently decided to become a veterinary doctor. As a child I observed my mother using leaves of a tree to make the nests of creole birds that she kept which helped to control parasites that would attack their feathers. My research was based on this tree which is sacred in India called Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss). I studied its use for the treatment of wounds in cattle and the treatment of internal parasites in ruminants. After graduation I worked as a Veterinary Officer in Guyana in rural villages and became interested in their use of medicinal plants in their daily lives. This was the way I became involved in ethnobiology.

My current research is based on the Satoyama-Satoumi concept and how it can be applied globally for sustainability in vulnerable communities. Satoyama is a Japanese term for landscapes that comprise a mosaic of different ecosystem types which include secondary forests, agricultural lands, irrigation ponds, grasslands and human settlements. My research groups are the Hilltribe communities in Chiang Mai, Thailand; the Ainu communities in Hokkaido, Japan; and the Amerindian communities in the Amazon, Guyana.

For me I cannot exactly pinpoint a memorable experience from my work that would have been overly prominent as opposed to the others. But for me I am always encouraged by the way I am easily adopted by the communities in which I work. I always expect to be treated with suspicion especially on my first visit but it usually turns out as if I am visiting old friends. Just my luck I guess.

I have no future plans that are cast in stone, but I would always continue to do research that would have positive impacts on the sustainability of indigenous communities that are oftentimes the most vulnerable in any given nation. I am particularly drawn to the Amazon and to Southeast Asia but would be open to work in other parts of the world as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment