Table 1. Characteristics of the six faces of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK).

Face Key components Challenges Opportunities
Factual observations Empirical observations
Naming of places
Descriptions of ecosystem components
Understanding of interconnections
Spatial and population patterns
Ecosystems dynamics and changes
TEK open to misinterpretation
Equitable sharing of TEK monetary benefits
Enhancement of scientific knowledge
Added information for monitoring of environmental changes
Criteria and indicators for environmental impact assessments and management of species at risk
Preparedness for social or ecological surprises
Management systems Practices adapted to context
Methods for conservation
Methods for sustainable resource use
Methods for adapting to change
Appropriate and effective technologies
Diversification of management regimes and methods
Transfer of responsibilities by central administrations to develop context-specific management models
Decentralized, appropriate management regimes
Novel sustainable approaches
Past and current uses Land-use patterns
Harvest levels
History of the cultural group
Location of cultural and historical sites
Location of medicinal plants
Misinterpretation of oral history
Misinterpretation of occupancy patterns
Equitable sharing of TEK monetary benefits
Reappropriation of aboriginal geographies
Increased aboriginal negotiation power
Identification of medicinal plants
Ethics and values Correct attitudes to adopt Values often incompatible with dominant discourse
Values not explicit in current management processes
Abstract dimension for nonaboriginals
Inspiration for new environmental ethics
Socially acceptable resource management systems
Vector for cultural survival Links life on the land, language, identity, and cultural survival Acceptance of aboriginal societies as vibrant and multifaceted
Conciliation of multiple meanings
Rich cultural diversity
Restorative benefits of appropriate cultural landscapes
Cosmology Assumptions about how things work
Spiritual relationship to the environment
Mistrust of alternative narratives
Structural and methodological problems for TEK holders in working with government bureaucrats
Reevaluation of long-lasting assumptions
Preparedness for social and ecological surprises