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to the platform for paraecologists worldwide

This website is a platform by and for paraecologists and parataxonomists as well as projects, organisations or individuals that work with paraecologists in different parts of the world. The aim of the platform is to facilitate the networking and sharing of information and resources within the paraecologist community but also to discuss and to inform the broader public about the concepts, aims and methodology of paraecologist programmes.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or contributions. You can find our contact details here.

On behalf of the team,

Ute Schmiedel
(University of Hamburg)


About this platform

This website has been initiated by the 20 participants (paraecologists and project coordinators) of an international workshop on paraecologist initiatives which was held in Hamburg in June 2011. More information about that workshop can be found here (PDF).

What is a paraecologist?

A paraecologist is a professional with local knowledge, being largely trained on the job in one or more fields of ecological science. He or she contributes to scientific research and local capacity development as well as enhances communication between local and scientific communities.

This definition was drafted during an international Training School on paraecologist involvement held at Hamburg University / Germany in February 2014. For more information on the training school see here (PDF 670 KB).

For the website, we stick to the term paraecologist. With this term, we explicitly also refer to parataxonomists, biodiversity facilitator and other terms that have been created in this context.

The main objectives of paraecologist approaches are

  • Enhancement of communication between land users and scientists for mutual learning: integration of local knowledge into research as well as empowerment of land users to understand, use and implement scientific results in agriculture and forestry
  • Environmental education and sensitisation (to develop awareness, win hearts, change minds)
  • Improvement of relationships between conservation areas and local communities
  • Improvement of livelihoods through development, capacity development and alternative incomes
  • Creation of job opportunities; also through the assessment of alternative sources of community livelihoods and capacity development (e.g. training of tour guides)
  • Make basic research more efficient (e.g. biodiversity assessment, collection and documentation of organisms, monitoring of biodiversity or livelihood conditions etc.)
  • Allow research activities and data collection also during the absence of the scientists
  • Share research and other specific site information amongst the different stakeholders whenever necessary

Schmiedel et al 2016 cover 90.jpg Article about paraecologist concepts published in Conservation Biology
Free download from journal website

PDF (300KB)

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How to use this website
The buttons above guide you to further information on different topics, like what paraecologists are, news and events around paraecologists, paraecologist programmes worldwide, personal profiles of paraecologists and resources like publications about paraecologist programmes or their outcomes, training material for paraecologists and videos produced by or in collaboration with paraecologists.

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Paraökologe - Ute Schmiedel – Universität Hamburg – Biozentrum Klein Flottbek

Paraecologist - paraecology - paraecology – grass-root capacity development - capacity building - participatory research - action reseach – participation – transdisciplinarity - development cooperation – Africa - Southern Africa - biodiversity research - long-term biodiversity monitoring - parataxonomy - parataxonomist – publications - participatory video - biodiversity facilitators - environmental education – training - knowledge exchange - sustainable development - awareness raising – ecotourism

Paraökologen – Weiterbildung – Ausbildung – Partizipation - Partizipative Forschung – Transdisziplinarität – Basisausbildung – Entwicklungszusammenarbeit – Afrika - Südliches Afrika – Biodiversitätsforschung – Artenvielfalt – Naturschutz – Langzeitbeobachtung – Parataxonomie – Parataxonom – Publikationen - partizipative Filme – Umwelterziehung - nachhaltige Entwicklung - Ökotourismus

programa de parataxonómos y parataxonómas – educación – biodiversidad - participación biodiversité – éducation - para-écologiste - para-écologue