May vodun sacred spaces be considered as a natural patrimony ? - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Book Sections Creating and Representing Sacred Spaces Year : 2003

May vodun sacred spaces be considered as a natural patrimony ?

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In the south of Benin and Togo, access to and management of natural sites are strictly controlled by religious rules of the vodun cult. These sacred forests and woodlands, and their biodiversity have been noticed both by scientists and managers specializing in questions of conservation as a proof of the capacities of traditional societies to protect biodiversity. But, the analysis of past and current practices concerning vodun sacred sites shows clearly that the biodiversity inherent in them cannot completely and always be considered as a natural patrimony. Very often the elements concerned are neither inherited nor passed on, and their management is not static. For example, though these sacred spaces are often wooded, one cannot assert that the composition and structure of the tree cover faithfully represents that of the original forest. On the contrary, our study shows that borrowings, movements, and fashions connected to the social dynamics and economic and political situation effect the religious management of sites, depending on the history of the people concerned. Numerous cult sites have been destroyed, moved, or re-organized, and the corresponding biological diversity was widely affected by these changes.
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halshs-00089322 , version 1 (17-08-2006)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00089322 , version 1


Dominique Juhé-Beaulaton, Bernard Roussel. May vodun sacred spaces be considered as a natural patrimony ?. Tatyana Gardner & Daniela Moritz. Creating and Representing Sacred Spaces, Peust & Gutschmidt Verlag, pp.33-56, 2003. ⟨halshs-00089322⟩
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