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Biocultural calendars in southwestern South America
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  • Ricardo Rozzi,
  • Ricardo Álvarez,
  • Victoria Castro,
  • David Núñez,
  • Jaime Ojeda,
  • Francisca Massardo
Ricardo Rozzi
University of North Texas, USA & Cape Horn International Center, Universidad de Magallanes, Chile

Corresponding Author:ricardo.rozzi@unt.edu

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Ricardo Álvarez
Escuela de Arqueología, Universidad Austral de Chile.
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Victoria Castro
Cape Horn International Center
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David Núñez
ONG Poloc
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Jaime Ojeda
School of Environmental Studies
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Francisca Massardo
Cape Horn International Center
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To integrate temporal and spatial dimensions of seasonal cycles, we combine two conceptual frameworks: ecological calendars and the “3Hs” model of the biocultural ethic. The latter values the vital links between human and other-than-human co-inhabitants, their life habits (e.g., cultural practices of human communities or life cycles of other-than-human species) and the structure, patterns and processes of their shared habitats. This integration enhances an understanding of core links between cultural practices and the life cycles of biocultural keystone species. As a synthesis, we use the term biocultural calendars to emphasize the co-constitutive nature of calendars that result from continuous interactions between dynamic biophysical and cultural processes. We apply biocultural calendars to examine cultural practices and socio-environmental changes in southwestern South America, specifically in Chile, spanning from (1) Cape Horn at the southern of the Americas in sub-Antarctic habitats inhabited by the Yagan indigenous community, (2) artisanal fisher communities in Chiloe; archipelagoes, (3) coastal regions of central-southern Chile inhabited by Lafkenche and Williche indigenous communities, to (4) high Andean habitats in northern Chile co-inhabited by Aymara communities along with domesticated camelids and a rich biodiversity. To illustrate biocultural calendars, we designed analemma diagrams that show the position of the Sun in the sky as seen from a fixed time and location, and linked to continuous renewal of astronomical, biological and cultural, seasonal cycles that sustain life. These biocultural calendars enhance the integration of indigenous and scientific knowledge to confront complex challenges of climate change faced by local communities and global society.