Documenting and Preserving Biocultural and Natural Resources Management Knowledge of Pattani Malay Community

Author: Bhimaraphat Rongsawad, Sarawut Kraisame (RILCA, Mahidol University)
Speaker: Bhimaraphat Rongsawad, Sarawut Kraisame
Topic: Language documentation
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


By the coast of Gulf of Thailand, the village name ‘Ko Yao’ or ‘Yao Island’ locates as a small community with approximately five hundreds villagers who speak Pattani Malay (ISO 639-3: mfa) as their mother tongue. Due to a geographically interesting location of this narrow and long island, community members live by dealing with both the sea and mangrove forest to a mainland side. They have invented and transmitted biocultural and natural resources management knowledge through generations for centuries while language acting as a vehicle of knowledge. Still, biocultural knowledge in this area is gradually disappearing influencing by socio-economic change and then has come to a stage of compartmentalization situation between age variations, especially in young generation. From a survey, over-40-aged and late-adult people only engage with this way of life utilizing biocultural knowledge.

With this in mind, the objectives of this study include 1) to document their biocultural and natural resources management knowledge before the last late-adult generation disappearing, and 2) to analyze linkages or relationships between human and nature, and between natures themselves for how they compromise and live by as a web of life. The research has documented a 30-minute-long Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of subsistence domain, including landscapes, seasons, weather, water, animals and plants. Through TEK lens, the study perceive two linguistic dimensions of data collection including 1) its body through names and words and 2) its within process through discourses as oral tradition of nature dealing. The research findings do not discuss only the value of TEK in this community but a cultural calendar of the community in a year influencing by biocultural diversity knowledge is also presented.


Bastardas-Boada, A. (2002). Biological and linguistic diversity: Transdisciplinary explorations for a socioecology of languages. Diverscité langues, 7.

Berkes, F., & Folke, C., (Eds.). (2000). Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge University Press.
Haenn, N., & Wilk, R. (Eds.). (2006). The environment in anthropology: A reader in ecology, culture, and sustainable living. NYU Press.
Maffi, L. (Ed.). (2001). On biocultural diversity: linking language, knowledge and the environment. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Moran, E. F. (2009). Human adaptability: An introduction to ecological anthropology. Hachette UK.
Keywords: documentation and preservation, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Pattani Malay