Community-based management strategies for biocultural diversity conservation


Ecology and Society, 2013


The ICTA-UAB team published two scientific articles in a special issue on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Environmental Change, guest edited by Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Esteve Corbera and Victoria Reyes-García:


(1) Gómez-Baggethun, E., Corbera, E., Reyes-García, V. 2013. Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Environmental Change: Research findings and policy implications. Ecology and Society 18(4):72. 

This paper introduces the special feature of Ecology and Society entitled “Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Environmental Change. The special feature addresses two main research themes. The first theme concerns the resilience of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (hereafter TEK) and the conditions that might explain its loss or persistence in the face of global change. The second theme relates to new findings regarding the way in which TEK strengthens community resilience to respond to the multiple stressors of global environmental change. Those themes are analyzed using case studies from Africa, Asia, America and Europe. Theoretical insights and empirical findings from the studies suggest that despite the generalized worldwide trend of TEK erosion, substantial pockets of TEK persist in both developing and developed countries. A common trend on the studies presented here is hybridization, where traditional knowledge, practices, and beliefs are merged with novel forms of knowledge and technologies to create new knowledge systems. The findings also reinforce previous hypotheses pointing at the importance of TEK systems as reservoirs of experiential knowledge that can provide important insights for the design of adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with global environmental change. Based on the results from papers in this feature, we discuss policy directions that might help to promote maintenance and restoration of living TEK systems as sources of social-ecological resilience.


(2) Ruiz-Mallén, I., Corbera, E. 2013. Community-based conservation and traditional ecological knowledge: implications for social-ecological resilience. Ecology and Society 18(4):12. 

Our review highlights how traditional ecological knowledge influences people's adaptive capacity to social-ecological change and identifies a set of mechanisms that contribute to such capacity in the context of community-based biodiversity conservation initiatives. Twenty-three publications, including twenty-nine case studies, were reviewed with the aim of investigating how local knowledge, community-based conservation, and resilience interrelate in social-ecological systems. We highlight that such relationships have not been systematically addressed in regions where a great number of community conservation initiatives are found; and we identify a set of factors that foster people's adaptive capacity to social-ecological change and a number of social processes that, in contrast, undermine such capacity and the overall resilience of the social-ecological system. We suggest that there is a need to further investigate how climate variability and other events affect the joint evolution of conservation outcomes and traditional ecological knowledge, and there is a need to expand the current focus on social factors to explain changes in traditional ecological knowledge and adaptive capacity towards a broader approach that pays attention to ecosystem dynamics and environmental change.