Indigenous Conservation and Management
The recognition that local and indigenous people have their own ecological understandings, conservation practices and resource management goals has important implications. It transforms the relationship between biodiversity managers and local communities. While previously they were perceived simply as resource users, indigenous people are now recognised as essential partners in environmental management.
However, differences between scientific and indigenous worldviews continue to create barriers to meaningful collaboration, as does the widespread assumption that science is superior to other knowledge systems.
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) provides a mechanism recognized by both the scientific and policy communities to synthesize, review, assess and critically evaluate relevant knowledge. The LINKS programme supports IPBES in its work to ensure respect for indigenous knowledge within the Platform.
In recent decades, recognition of the intimate relationship between people and places has grown so that cultural diversity is acknowledged as a crucial factor in maintaining the world’s biodiversity. Yet still today, innumerable conservation initiatives remain mired in a dualistic vision that opposes humans and nature.
Today there is wide recognition of the need for local-community involvement in the conservation of cultural landscapes and natural heritage. With their unique knowledge, skills and traditions, local communities have much to contribute to the management of these areas. However, when regulations are introduced that restrict their ability to maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle, this raises serious concerns.