I am an Affiliate Researcher at the Swedish Biodiversity Centre (SLU) https://www.slu.se/en/ew-cv/diana-garavito-bermudez/, and a member of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) https://www.iucn.org/commissions/commission-environmental-economic-and-social-policy. I am an Associate Professor at Stockholm University.
I hold a PhD degree in Education from the Department of Education at Stockholm University, a master’s degree in Human and Social Sciences from Université René Descartes Paris 5 (France), and a bachelor’s degree in Biology och Pedagogy from the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (Colombia). After my PhD disertation I got a two-years postdoctoral position at the Swedish Biodiversity Centre at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
My doctoral thesis specifically explored the generation of ecological knowledge among small-scale fishers in Sweden through within the project “Ecological knowledge and sustainable resource management: The role of knowledge acquisition in enhancing the adaptive capacity of co-management arrangements”. My postdoctoral research project “Informal learning processes among people having natural environments as their workplaces” explored adult informal learning processes and its significance for sustainability, specifically biodiversity in Sweden. These projects were funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, respectively.
Diana Garavito-Bermúdez' doctoral thesis focused on learning ecosystem complexity, specifically the generation of ecological knowledge among small-scale fishers in Sweden. This piece of knowledge aimed to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of informal learning processes of ecosystem complexity among small-scale fishers. This knowledge will further contribute to the research field of ecological knowledge and sustainable use and management of natural resources. In this, three main research questions were answered:
- What ecological knowledge do professional small-scale fishers generate?
- How is the generation of ecological knowledge among professional fishers influenced by their fishing work practices?
- How is the generation of ecological knowledge among professional fishers influenced by their relationship to nature?
The major findings of this piece of knowledge were: first, that two types of knowledge constitute fishers’ ecological knowledge: declarative (or discursive) and procedural (or practical). This finding answers the research question of what ecological knowledge the fishers generated.
Second, another major finding is that fishers' knowledge of ecosystem complexity is grounded mainly in processes of work such apprenticeships, testing hypotheses and reflection on their own practices. It means that the generation, transfer and updating of knowledge is mainly done through apprenticeship and hypothesis-testing. This finding answers the question about the influence of work practices on fishers’ ecological knowledge.
Third, another major finding concerns the influence of ecological knowledge on local and professional identities. Knowledge of ecosystem complexity is considered core professional knowledge for small-scale professional fishing. In line with this, the knowledge of fishing environments influences professional and local identities. Natural environments influence fishers’ self-identification as locals and the fishers expressed a strong connection to these places (including the fish). Their environments constitute a key element of who they are, and where they belong. For instance, fishers that focus on eel fishing define themselves as ‘eel-fishers’, and belong to a particular eel-fishing community several generations old in that particular place (Blekinge Archipelago).
The last major finding is that fishers’ understanding of their ecosystem’s complexity enhances their attachment to it and their behaviours for proximity maintenance – this finding relates to the research question about the influence of fishers’ relationships to nature on their ecological knowledge.
These findings allowed the conclusions:
- Different work practices generate different understandings of ecosystem complexity.
- Different relationships to nature generate different understandings of ecosystem complexity.
- Knowledge of ecosystem complexity is strongly related to local and professional identities. In turn, the development of local and professional identities is strong related to fishing and its social, cultural and physical environments.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. 2020. A biographical approach to the study of biocultural learning. Adult Education Discourses 21: 105-124.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. 2019. Biocultural learning – beyond ecological knowledge transfer. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 63(10): 1791-1810.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. and Lundholm, C. 2017. Exploring interconnections between local ecological knowledge, professional identity and sense of place among Swedish fishers. Environmental Education Research 25(5): 627-655.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. 2016. Learning ecosystem complexity: A study of small-scale fisher’s ecological knowledge generation. Environmental Education Research 24(4): 625-626.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D., Lundholm, C. and Crona, B. 2016. Linking a conceptual framework on systems thinking with experiential knowledge. Environmental Education Research 22(1): 89-110.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. 2016. Learning ecosystem complexity. A study of small-scale fisher’s ecological knowledge generation. PhD thesis. Department of Education. Stockholm University. Sweden.
Garavito-Bermúdez, D. 2018. Med natur som levebröd och arbetsplats. In: Natursyn. Biodiverse 23(2-3), p. 16-17. Uppsala, Sweden: Centrum för Biologisk Mångfald [Swedish Biodiversity Centre].
BIOCULTURAL LEARNNG - LEARNING COMPLEXITY'S SIGNIFICANCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY RESEARCH AND PRACTICES