inclusive action

The Society of the Protection of the Underground Networks (SPUN) is committed to actively working towards Inclusive Action as an ongoing reflective and practical effort to build internal awareness and engagement to create spaces where diverse perspectives, disciplines, roles, and backgrounds can actively thrive. Inclusive Action stands for our belief that Most Affected Peoples and Areas (MAPA) need to be included in the entire process of designing and applying solutions locally. SPUN can serve as a platform to engage and connect actors to foster their impact.

As part of our mission, we aim to understand, protect and foster the mycorrhizal networks that regulate the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. However, we acknowledge that many well-intentioned environmental initiatives end up perpetuating hegemonic power dynamics due to exclusion of local communities in the processes of planning and decision making. Therefore, we seek to ensure that our efforts build connections and networks to help the knowledge production and decision-making of those most impacted by the problems we seek to address.

We adhere to a series of principles to support these aims:

  1. Advocate for expanding diversity of people and partners in our networks, identifying and removing barriers to the inclusion of diversity, and make reasonable adjustments when necessary to support diversity and equity
  2. Engage and foster community-building among scientists from diverse territories through meaningful inclusion and collaboration
  3. Prioritize interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity approaches to produce knowledge when possible
  4. Decentralize decision making, science, and knowledge production from the global north and seek fair and equal partnerships with local researchers
  5. Include and engage local communities, institutions, and NGOs meaningfully in the research practice from the design to the diffusion of the results, whenever possible
  6. Democratize science and ensure that we produce clear and open data, with special attention to precise language that is both scientifically rigorous, inclusive, and accessible to diverse audiences
  7. Privilege applications from women, indigenous peoples, and black and ethnic groups from the Global South
  8. Defined inclusive action goals for all of our programs to make it part of our way of doing

Ethical guidelines

Our ethical guidelines consider a diverse set of documents and social actors. We draw on ethical principles embedded in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and environmental laws designed to protect ecosystems and territories, where both humans and non-human entities are considered [1].

Taking these documents as guidelines, our mission and work are based on values of honesty, transparency and good faith, respect, collaboration, reciprocity, and complementarity as guides for practices and relationships. As such, and in line with efforts to foster research integrity [2], we pledge to calls to combat neocolonial bias in science, because it is rooted in violence and multiple dispossessions constituting a detrimental frame for producing good and rigorous science.

While this declaration orients our work, we also acknowledge that building internal awareness to tackle power inequalities and coloniality within science requires strong and long-term efforts. Therefore, it is always a learning process, open to change and adapt to our own development and specific contexts to better fit our purposes.


[1] We work in tandem with international agreements and regulations such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Nagoya Protocol for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS); the Recognition and Protection of Sacred Natural Sites and Territories, and Customary Governance Systems statement by African custodian communities of sacred natural sites in Africa. In tandem with the Declaration of the Indigenous Forum of Abya Yala (201), we respect and support the vision of the indigenous people and their relationship with Mother Earth.

[2] Else, H. 2022. “African researchers lead campaign for equity in global collaborations”. Available at: