Table 2. Summarized themes, their significance for knowledge integration, and key lessons identified in reviewed literature. Introductions and synthesis chapter of Reid et al. (2006) were excluded from analysis. IK = indigenous knowledge.
Similarities and differences between IK and science, and benefits and
challenges of using and integrating IK.
An understanding of similarities and differences between IK and scientific
knowledge, and the benefits and challenges of integrating these different
knowledge systems, is a prerequisite to knowledge integration.
- IK and Western knowledge systems are complementary or parallel rather
than fundamentally incommensurable.
- Differences between IK and science can
be resolved through collaborative approaches and by finding common ground.
Some IK-based practices resemble Western science but former tend to be based on
important social mechanisms.
- Science is better equipped to detect causal
links, and to evolve quickly enough to accommodate new information.
Tensions between IK and science persist: some IK holders reject Western
philosophy’s focus on truth, belief, and worldview.
- Difficulties of
including IK in ecological research may outweigh the benefits.
Methods for using and integrating IK, and institutions, processes, and
partnerships for maintenance and integration of IK.
Advances in methods and processes are essential to join knowledge integration theory and practice.
- The methodological toolkit is expanding beyond collection of IK to
methods for bringing different sources and forms of knowledge together, i.e.,
scenarios, mapping, community theater.
- A sophisticated array of
institutions, processes, and partnerships to integrate knowledge exist as well
as reflection on their success.
IK and culture, scale, politics, law, and policy.
Culture, scale, politics, law, and policy all form the social context of
- Knowledge integration needs to be cognizant of the culture-knowledge
link, and its evolution in response to global and regional change.
of scale can influence the agendas or contexts in which knowledge is organized
and decisions made, and whose knowledge is relevant.
- How knowledge holders
position their knowledge in political arenas is important.
- Scientists who
engage with IK need to understand the international law and policy contexts in
which IK is situated, and implications for access to knowledge.
laws and policies need to make space for indigenous forms of cultural
Evaluation of IK and integration.
Need to assess different types of knowledge, the combined products of
integration, and the process by which they are combined.
- Much evaluation of integrated knowledge has largely concerned the
credibility of IK in the eyes of science.
- Recent initiatives recognize a
need for a broader set of evaluative criteria to assess knowledge.
has its own rules about processes of knowing, which diverge from the rules of
- Evaluation processes need to distribute power more equally across
- IK has a crucial role for evaluation of science:
through integration, IK holders can scrutinize scientific predictions
themselves, increasing the potential for science to be trusted.