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A review of Indigenous knowledge and participation in environmental monitoring

Kim-Ly Thompson, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies
Trevor C Lantz, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies
Natalie C Ban, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11503-250210

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Abstract

There is a growing interest by governments and academics in including Indigenous knowledge alongside scientific knowledge in environmental management, including monitoring. Given this growing interest, a critical review of how Indigenous peoples have been engaged in monitoring is needed. We reviewed and analyzed the academic literature to answer the following questions: How have Indigenous peoples participated in environmental monitoring, and how has their participation influenced monitoring objectives, indicators, methods, and monitoring outcomes? We also summarized how this literature discussed power, governance, and the use of both Indigenous and scientific knowledge in environmental monitoring efforts. We found that the literature most often characterized participation as data collection, and that higher degrees of participation and power held by Indigenous peoples in environmental monitoring leads to initiatives that have different objectives, indicators, and outcomes than those with heavier involvement of external groups. Our review also showed that a key challenge of conducting effective monitoring that leverages both Indigenous knowledge systems and science is the power imbalances that uncouple Indigenous monitoring efforts from management. We encourage future initiatives to carefully consider the ways in which power and governance shape their programs and the ability of their monitoring to lead to meaningful management actions.

Key words

adaptive management; community-based monitoring; conservation; governance; participatory research; resource management; traditional ecological knowledge

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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