Merlin Franco IAS

Merlin F. Franco

Deputy Director, Assistant Professor


Dr. Merlin Franco is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at IAS.

He is an ethnobiologist interested in the interrelationship between human culture, language and biodiversity (Biocultural Diversity).

He believes that the traditional knowledge of the indigenous communities that is embedded in their respective native languages holds the key for prudent management of ecosystem services.

Dr. Franco currently serves as Editor in Chief of Ethnobotany Research and Applications. In the past, Dr. Franco has worked with Curtin Sarawak Research Institute (2012-2015) and Earthwatch Institute- India (2011-2012).

Research Interests

     • Biocultural Diversity- relationship between indigenous languages, culture and biodiversity
     • Indigenous calendric systems
     • Biodiversity and Ecosystem services
     • Traditional Agricultural Systems
     • Eco-criticism

Select Publications


Franco, F.M. & D. Narasimhan. 2012. Ethnobotany of the Kondh, Poraja, Gadaba and Bonda of the Koraput region of Odisha, India. DK Printworld, New Delhi.

Balasubramanian, A.V., T.D. Nirmala Devi & Franco, F.M., (Eds). 2009. Use of Animal Products in Traditional Agriculture. Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, Chennai.

Journal Articles

F. Merlin Franco and Nurzahidah Bakar “Persistence of the Salty-Sweet Nipah Sugar in the Popular Foodways of Brunei Darussalam,” Journal of Ethnobiology 40(3), 368-385, (24 September 2020).

Kamsani, K., F. M. Franco, F. Slik (2020). A comparative account of the traditional healing practices of healers and non-healers in the Kiudang area of Brunei Darussalam. Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Franco, F.M., Chaw, L.L., Bakar, N. et al. (2020). Socialising over fruits and vegetables: the biocultural importance of an open-air market in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 16, 6.

Franco, F.M. and Minggu, M.J. (2019). When the seeds sprout, the hornbills hatch: understanding the traditional ecological knowledge of the Ibans of Brunei Darussalam on hornbills. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 15: 46.

Prabakaran, K., R. Nagarajan, S. Eswaramoorthi, A. Anandkumar, F. Merlin Franco (2019). Environmental significance and geochemical speciation of trace elements in Lower Baram River sediments. Chemosphere (219): 933-953.

Hidayati, S., B.A.A. Ghani, B. Giridharan, M. Z. Hassan, F. Merlin Franco (2018). Using Ethnotaxonomy to Assess Traditional Knowledge and Language Vitality: A Case Study with the Vaie People of Sarawak, Malaysia. Ethnobiology Letters 9(2):33–47.

Hidayati, S., N.I. Suansa, Samin, & Franco, F.M. (2017). “Using Ethnotaxonomy to assess Traditional Knowledge and Language Vitality: A Case Study with the Urang Kanekes (Baduy) of Banten, Indonesia”. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 14 (4): 576-582

Prabhakaran, K., R. Nagarajan, Franco, F.M., & A. Anand Kumar (2017). “Biomonitoring of Malaysian Aquatic Environments: A Review of Status and Prospects”. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 17 (2): 134-147.

Franco, F.M. (2015). “Calendars and Ecosystem Management: Some Observations. Human Ecology 43 (2): 355-359.