Bio-Human Ecology
Livelihood & Anthropology
SPERI and Theory of Biological Human Ecology
Biological Human Ecology was formed from the original Human Ecology theory by Dr. Terry Ramboo. The following diagram illustrates the relationship between Human and Ecological System (Dr. Ramboo).
Dr. Ramboo explored an interaction between human system and ecological system through exchanges of energy, material, and information flows and that followed a process  of further selection and adaptation to be evolving and development.
After completing a postgraduate training course on Human Ecology by Dr. Ramboo at the Environmental Policy Institute, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States in April, 1990; Tran thi Lanh returned to Vietnam and attempted to test Dr. Ramboo’s human ecology theoretical framework.
The framework acts as a methodological approach in working with ethnic minority communities to alleviate poverty at the structural level. The testing was done at many Northern provinces of Vietnam, Laos, and northern Thailand. Valuable lessons were drawn after each application; and a conclusion has shown that biological characteristics and systematic nature of eco-system play a decisive role in forming cultural patterns of many minority communities.
Biological Human Ecology - history
Biological characteristics and systematic nature of eco-system play an enormous role in forming cultural archetype and also social relationships of many minority communities. The dynamics and complexity nature of bio-ecological system acts like a nurturing medium for minority communities to form their core value. It is also the adaptation and advancement of bio-ecological system that helps communities to survive and live with an ecological area for a long history.
Most of the research works were done with the Dzao people in Ba Vi national park; the Mong people in the limestone ecosystem in On Oc village, Muong Lum commune, Yen Chau district, Son La province; the Sinh mun minority of Bo ngoi village, Phieng Khoai commune, Yen Chau district, Son La province; the Ma Lieng people of Ke village, Lam Hoa commune, Tuyen Hoa district, Quang Binh province; the Gia Rai minority at Kenh Ngo village, Nghia Hoa commune, Chuparh district, Gia Lai province. The Ede group, Kxia village, Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak province; the Kho Mu people, Than village, Chieng Pan commune; the Thai minority, Chieng Dong village, Chieng Dong commune, Yen Chau district; the Macoong minority, Cu Ton village, Tan Thuong Trach commune, Bo Trach district; the Karen people, Nong Tao village, Maewang district, Chiang Mai; the Mong people, Maesamai village, Chiang Mai, Thailand; the Mong community in Long Lan village; Luangphrabang district, the Kho Mu people in Nam kha village, Nam bac district, and  the Lao Lum people in Xiangda village, Nam bac district,  Luang Prabang province, Lao PDR.
During the application of research works, Tran thi Lanh found out through interaction with local people, noting down their stories, summing up experiences, and understanding their notions - Biological Human Ecology (BHE) is an appropriate approach. BHE has become a theoretical guiding framework to help TEW – CHESH – CIRD/SPERI in approaching minority communities to alleviate structural  poverty and conduct community development work which based upon belief system and respecting community traditional structure at each ecological zone.
Biological Human Ecology - briefing
Biological Human Ecology demonstrates human and nature of a certain ecological system in an organizational structure similar like a living cell! If a structure of a living cell has three compartments, then a structure of both human and ecological systems consists of three main parts.
The core of a cell is the chromosomes which has a heredity function. It corresponds to the core of a community structure which includes belief system, religious and moral norms of which all these have to pass down through generations.
Surrounding the core is the cytoplasm which acts as a nurturing medium to protect the core. In the human system, it is the community institutional framework on social, cultural, economic, and political aspects that helps to maintain the belief system as well as traditional norms. Much of the regulations are non-written but very powerful to last long over generations. They help shaping the uniqueness of each minority community at each ecological area.
The outer skin is the cell membrane which acts as a protective layer for both cytoplasm and the core. In the human system, it is our daily behavioral performance such as cultural ceremony, cultivation practice, ways of using and managing resources of each member or groups that help to practice our belief and maintain our institution. Every family or clan or generation would keep their certain behavioral performance to be different to the other; and over times, the performances might change as according to exchange, evolution, and adaptation with neighborhood and/or surrounding environment.
The structure of an ecosystem where community lives is likely a structure of a community.
The core of the value system i.e. belief, religious and moral norms is equally important as the chromosomes of the biological system. The core plays a heredity role in order to maintain belief, religious, and moral norms to be long-last and enabled to pass-on through generations. In a bio-ecological system, the chromosomes or core cell is likely a central biomass which inherit the good genes/patterns of an ecosystem and that help shaping the uniqueness of such an eco-landscape.
It is hard for the Central Biomass to be changed under any circumstances during the development process!.  
 An ecosystem if contained as many concentric circles would mean to consist more diverse species in the system. Therefore, competition level among species remains high and also resistance level. The systematic nature and uniqueness of the system becomes more visible, and hence evolving function is more sustainable. The core value of the human system as well as the community value of ecosystem will have more spaces and opportunities to practice, be selective, compete, and be creative. This is why most of the non-written moral and spiritual values of the community remain over generations in such hard natural conditions.
The community lives with an ecological system and evolving over times through exchanging material, energy, and information flows. These flows interact with each other at diverse levels and of different scales between the two systems. The interaction is almost an organic one would mean to allow both human and ecological systems are well adjusted whilst ensuring the achievement of independent status and sense of security throughout their development processes.
The Central Biomass of Ecosystem and the Core Value of the Human System interact harmoniously and is an instinct nature that the Mother Nature gives to both.
The systematic nature and diversity of an ecosystem helps to embroidering the beauty, dynamics, and cultural uniqueness of each humane community. The higher the diversity level, the more widely the practical space for exchanging culture; hence, the better selective process as well as adaptation level for each community. The customary law of each minority community has an ability to self-maintain, self-nurturing, and self-development. It is them to also help securing their ecosystem as well as ecosystem services much sustainable. The norms and community-oriented behavior and also nature-based practices would become more civilized if without much interventions from formal institutions. Biological Human Ecology respects the diversity and equity of different concepts of values of minority communities. Biological Human Ecology also respects an application of those values to put into daily behavioral performance and/or thinking approach (the case of Long Lan - Mong customary based special forest preservation, Hoang clan-based Mong  community herbal forest management, Na Sai Black Thai’s local knowledge based Land Use planning, and Nong tao Karen’s local wisdom based community self – determination will continue to be evident proofs).

Tran Thi Lanh
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Agro-Ecology - an Understanding and Practicing with the Indigenous Ethnic Minority Community in Mekong Countries
Certified appreciation of the Rainforestation Farming to the native eco-products of Long Lan
Initiative of enriching tropical forest by native species and local knowledge
Human ecology farming of Hoang Van Phuoc's garden in Lam Trach commune, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh
Radical Human Ecology
Application of Biological Human Ecology for community development of ethnic groups in Mekong watershed
Herbal Forests and Elders’ Spirit


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