Jonaki Bhattacharyya, PhD, does applied research in ethnoecology (focusing on Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge), conservation planning, and wildlife management. Integrating cultural values and knowledge systems with ecological issues, her research endeavours have ranged from remote villages in India to backcountry meadows in British Columbia (BC), Canada. As Senior Researcher with The Firelight Group Research Cooperative, Jonaki works with First Nations and communities in Western Canada. Focusing on relationships between people, animals and places, she seeks to make applied contributions to conservation and human management practices around wildlife, protected areas, natural resources, and ecological systems. Jonaki is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia.
Jonaki’s current work builds upon years of engagement with Indigenous peoples, and diverse stakeholders and agencies throughout BC. She continues long-term research on wild horses and traditional Tsilhqot’in First Nations’ systems of land management in BC’s Central Interior. She holds a PhD in Environmental Planning, and Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. She was recently awarded a Wilburforce Fellowship in Conservation Science. Jonaki is motivated by the desire to connect the power of individuals’ experiences in wild nature with policy and governance decisions, so that the knowledge and conservation ethics of people on the ground have a stronger voice in decisions affecting the land.
Selected Publications and Reports
Bhattacharyya, J. & Murphy, S.D. (2015). “Assessing the Role of Free-Roaming Horses in a Social-Ecological System.” Environmental Management. Available online May 7, 2015 DOI: 10.1007/s00267-015-0508-y.
Bhattacharyya, J. & Larson, B.M.H. (2014). “The Need for Indigenous Voices in Discourse about Introduced Species: Insights from Controversy over Wild Horses.” Environmental Values 23(6): 663-684.
Bhattacharyya, J. (2013) Cultural and Social-Ecological Significance of the Region Surrounding Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) to the Xeni Gwet’in and other Tsilhqot’in Nations: Relevant to environmental impacts of the proposed “New Prosperity” mine. Report submitted to the Independent Review Panel for the Canadian Environmental Assessment of the proposed New Prosperity Mine. Presented August 1, 2013, Williams Lake, BC.
Bhattacharyya, J., Baptiste, M., Setah, D. & William, R. (2012) “It’s Who We Are: Locating Cultural Strength in Relationship with the Land.” In John Parkins & Maureen Reed (Eds.) The Social Transformation of Canada: New Insights into Community, Culture and Citizenship. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Bhattacharyya, J. (2012). Knowing Naŝlhiny (Horse), Understanding the Land: Free-Roaming Horses in the Culture and Ecology of the Brittany Triangle and Nemiah Valley. Doctoral Dissertation, School of Planning, University of Waterloo, ON.
Bhattacharyya, J., Slocombe, S. & Murphy, S. (2011). “The ‘Wild’ or ‘Feral’ Distraction: Effects of Cultural Understandings on Management Controversy over Free-Ranging Horses (Equus ferus caballus)” Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal 39(5): 613-625. (DOI) 10.1007/s10745-011-9416-9.