Customary and traditional legal measures

Long before national governments began to pass legislation and regulations concerning the conservation of biodiversity and the use of biological resources, traditional communities around the world already possessed a varied and complex collection of customary laws dealing with the same issues. The survival of these communities depended upon effective systems of husbanding biological resources.

Customary laws and legal systems vary from culture to culture but have a number of general characteristics that set them apart from modern legal orders that govern, at least in theory, behaviour in national legal and political systems. Some common characteristics of customary laws are: