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International Cosmos Prize

The Prizewinner 1994

Name Jacques FranÇois Barrau
Born on 3 April 1925
Nationality France
Title Professor,
Paris National Museum of Natural

Reason for Awarding

After graduation from a university, Dr. Barrau has conducted ethnobiological studies with an emphasis on useful plants in the Pacific islands and the life of the islanders for approximately 20 years from the 1940s to the 1960s.

His study area covered all of the vast Oceania and through the studies he conducted, he produced academic papers such as “Food plant in Oceania: Origins, Distribution and Usage", “Plants and Migration of Pacific Peoples" etc. These papers introduced and explained the state of coexistence between nature and mankind.

The methodology adopted by Dr. Barrau allowed him to integrate the wide range of research and study results and to find the relationship and interaction of various phenomena and a system common to those phenomena from a comprehensive viewpoint. His achievements which clarified the state of coexistence between nature and mankind can be regarded as invaluable suggestions on how human beings should coexist with nature on Earth.

In 1965, he transferred his research base to France, at Paris National Museum of Natural History and he wrote a book “Mankind and Foods for Mankind: an Essay on the Ecological and Ethnological History of Food Supply" in which he examined the history of nature and mankind regarding food from a global viewpoint and discussed various issues regarding food, including food as sustenance, as economic resource and so forth.

He conducted study that integrates natural science and social science regarding the coexistence of nature and mankind in the past, at the present and in the future.


1946 - 1947 Ingenieur Agronome et Licencie es Sciences, Universities of Toulouse and Aix-Marseille
1947 - 1952 Head, Department of Agriculture of New Caledonia Set about ethnobiological studies on useful plants and the life of Pacific islanders.
1951 Docteur es Science Naturelles with a dissertation on the origins,distribution and uses of food plants of Oceania
1964 - 1965 Visiting Professor of Ethnobiology, Dept. of Anthropology and Dept. of Biology, Yale University, USA
1965 Assistant Director of the Dept. of Ethnobotany and Ethnozoology, Paris National Museum of Natural History
1975 The Chairmanship of the Ethnobotany Session of the 12th International Congress of Botany, in Leningrad in the then USSR
1981 Professor, National Museum of Natural History, Dept. of Ethnobiology-Ethnobiogeography
The Vice-Presidentship of the 13th International Congress of Botany, Sydney, Australia

Because of his childhood spent in New Caledonia, located in the South Pacific, Professor Barrau has been holding a strong interest in the Pacific island. After graduating from a university in France, Professor Barrau has been conducting ethnobiological studies from various viewpoints on nature and the life of the islanders in the Oceania area including Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia, for approximately 20years. Particularly, his studies on food plants of the Pacific islands received high evaluation internationally.

Even after transferring his research base from the Pacific islands to France in 1965, Professor Barrau has continued to engage in unique and challenging studies by examining the theme of mankind and food from a global viewpoint that integrates natural science and social science plus humanities, while maintaining his main research fields in the Pacific.


  1. RECLUES, E. - La terre: description des phenomenes de la vie du globe, Hachette, Paris,1869.
  2. PaULIAN, R. - Les iles, laboratoires naturels,specificite et contraintes biologiques des milieux instulaires, in: A. Huetz de Lenmps ed., “Nature et Hommes dans les iles tropicales: reflexions et exemples”, Coll.
    “Iles et Archipels n°3, CRET, CEGET, Talence, 1984, pp.69-80
  3. BARRAU, j. -“Plantes et comportements des hommes qui les cultivent”, La Pensee, 1973, 171:3-12.
  4. -a)BARRAU, j.- “L'Ethnobotanique au carrefour des Sciences Naturelles et des Sciences Humaines", Bulletin de la Socit Botanique de France, 1971, 118(3-4):237-248.
    -b)BARRAu, j. - Ethnobiologie in “L'Homme et son environnement: de la demographie a l'ecologie”, P. Samuel, Y. Gautier et I. Sachs eds., Retz CPL, Paris, 1976.
    -c)BARRAU, j. -“Biogeographie ou Ethnobiogeographie? une reflexion a propos de la Martinique et, plus generalement, des Petites Antiles”, C. R. Soc. Biogeographie, 1978, 469:83-96.
  5. LEENHARDT, M. - “Notes d'ethnologie neocaledonienne”, Travauz et Memories de l'Institut d'Ethnologie de l'Universite de Paris, 1930, 7, pp.1-340. Paris.
    LEENGARDT, M. - Gens de la Grande Terre, Gallimard, Paris, 1937.
  6. LEVI-STRAUSS, C. - La pensee sauvage, Plon, Paris, 1962.
  7. BARRAU, j. - “Notes sur le language des plantes en Nouvelle-Caledonie melanesienne”,Journal d'Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquee, 1970, 10-11:461-464.
  8. MARX, K. & F. ENFGLES - L'ideologie allemande, (version francaise) Editions Sociales, Paris, 1968.
  9. DI PIAZZA, A. - Les btaisseurs de jardins: ethnoarcheologie du paysage de Wallis et Futuna, These de Doctorat en prehistoire. Ethnologie, Anthropologie, Universite de Paris 1, Paris, 1992,3 vol., 332p.
  10. BARRAU, J. - L'humide et le sec : an essay on ethnobiological adaptation to contrastive environments in the Indo-Pacific area, in A. P. Vayda ed.,“Peoples and cultures of the Pacific", Natural History Press, New York, 1968. pp.113-132.
  11. BERQUE, A. - Le sauvage et l'artifice : les Japonais devant la nature, Gallimard, Bibliotheque des Sciences Humaines, Paris, 1986.
  12. HAUDRICOURT, A.-G. et L. HEDIN - L'HOMME et les plantes cultivees, NRF-Gallimard, Paris, 1943. (reed. A. M. Metailie, Paris, 1987).
  13. SAUER, C. O. - “Agricultural Origins and Dispersals”, Bowman Memorial Lectures series 2, American Geographical Society, New York, 1952.
  14. -a)BURKILL. I. H. - “Habits of man and the origin of the cultivated plants of the Old world”, Proc. of the linnean Society of London,164th Session, t. I. 1953, pp.12-41.
    -b)BURKILL, I. H - “The Organography and the Evolution of Dioscoreaceae, the Family of Yams", Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany), 56367, 1960, pp.319-412.
  15. GOUROU, P. - La civilisation du vegetal, Indonesie, I(5), 1948.
  16. BARRAU, J. - Orgines de l'agriculture, domestication des vegetaux et milieux contrastes, vol 2, pp.305-310, in: J. M. C. Thomas and L. Bernot eds, “Langues et Techniques, Nature et Societe”, Klincksieck, Paris, 1972.
  17. -a)BARRAU, J. - Indigenous and colonial land use systems in Indo-Oceanian savanna environments, in: D. R. Harris ed., “Human Ecology in Savanna Environments”, Academic Press, London & New York, 1980, pp.253-266.
    -b) - id,- Les hommes daus la nature: esquisse d'une histoire naturelle des societes et des moeurs humaines, in: J. Poirier ed., “Histoire des moeurs, NRF-Gallimard, Encyclopedie de la Pleiade, Paris, 1990. pp.9-58.
  18. -a)BARRAU, J. - “Witnesses of the past: notes on some food plants of Oceania”, Ethnology, 1965, 4, (3):282-294, Pittsburgh.
    -b) - id, - “Histoire et prehistoire horticoles de l'Cceanie tropicale”, Journal de la Societe des Oceanistes, 1965, 21(21):55-78, Paris
  19. HAUDRICOURT, A. - G. - “Domestication des animaux,culture des plantes et traitement d'autrui”, L'Homme, 2, 1, 1962, pp.40-50.
  20. HARRIS, D. R. - Agricultural systems, ecosystems and the origin of agriculture, in P. J. Ucko and G. W. Dimbleby, “The domestication and exploitation of plats and animals”, Gerald Duckworth, Londres, 1969.
  21. -a)BARRAU, J. cf. note 17.
    -b)GEERTZ, C. - Agricultural involution: the process of ecological change in Indonesia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1963.
    -c)CONKLIN, H. C. - An ethnoecological approach to shiftiong agriculture, Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2nd series, 17, 1954.
    -d)CONKLIN, H. C. - The relation of Hanunoo culture to the plant world., Ph.D. thesis, Yale University, New Heaven, 1954.
    -e)CONKLIN,H.C.- Hannunoo agriculture. A report on an integral system of shifting cultivation in the Philippines.
    Food and Agriculture Organization, Forestry Development paper n°12, Roma, 1957. 209p.
  22. HAUDRICOURT, A.-G. -“Nature et culture dans la civilisation de l'igname, l'origine des clones et les clans”, L'Homme, 4, 1964, pp.93-104.
  23. CHILDE, V. G. - Le mouvement de l'Histoire, Arthanud, Paris, 1960.
  24. BARRAU, J. - Carnivorite et culpabilite: de l'ambiguite de certaines de nos attitudes a l'egard de l'aliment carne, in: J. Hainard & R. Kaehr eds., Musee d'Ethnographie, Neuchatel, 1097, pp.125-132.
  25. PRANCE, G. T - International Cosmos Prize Commemorative Lecture : Biodiversity: the richness of life, The Commemorative Foundation for the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Osaka, 1993.
  26. HUETS e LEMPS, A. ,ed. Nature et Hommes dans les iles tropicales : reflexions et exemples, Coll. “Iles et Archipels" n°3, CRET, CEGET ,Talence, 1984.
  27. BARRAU, J. - Le Jardin royal des plantes medicinales de paris,plus tard jardin des Plantes et Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, et la botanique cloniale, in: M. Chauvet ed. “Jardins botaniques et arboretumn de demain", BRG, Paris, 1991. pp.13-21.
  28. BARRAU, J., and L. DEVAMBEZ - Quelques resultats inattendus de l'acclimatation en Nouvelle-Caledonie, La Terre et la Vie., 1957, 1:324-334.
  29. BARRAU, J. - “les hommes et les forets tropicales d'Afrique et d'Amerique”, in: Entretiens du Museum : Vertebres et forets tropicales d'Afrique et d'Amerique, Memoires du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, nouvelle serie, serie A, Zoologie, T. 132:289-296. Paris, Esitions du Museum.
  30. HOUDAR de la MOTTE, Antoine, dit La Motte-Houdar-Fables, 1719.

* title as of the time of winning the prize