In the breathtaking valley of Brgy. Gumitan in Marilog district, the Matigsalug has somehow found a way to sustain indigenous knowledge and practices despite the encroaching urbanization of the city. One of these traditions is the seed banking in the community. The women keep varieties of rice seeds for the next planting season and although not all women are farmers, as others are trying to shift into handicrafts as a source of income, there are some who are keen on preserving this tradition in seed keeping.
In a recent UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, these ‘guardians of nature’ are facing growing resource extraction, commodity production, along with mining, transport and energy infrastructure which has adverse impacts on the livelihood and health of the indigenous peoples.
The report has found that their ancestral knowledge enable them to protect habitats that sustains them for hundreds of years. This is the first major UN scientific report to fully consider indigenous knowledge and management practices.
“Indigenous peoples have truly been guardians of Nature for the rest of society,” Eduardo Brondizio, co-chair of the UN report and a professor of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington, told the news wire Agence France Presse.
The research showed that forests under ‘indigenous management are more effective carbon sinks and are less prone to wildfires than many so-called “protected areas” controlled by business concessions.’
Davao City is home to indigenous peoples who are trying hard to survive in a rapidly changing world while maintaining their indigenous ways and practices.
Truly, they are the nature’s guardians.