Traditional Ecological Knowledge - Basic FWS Information

The term Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or TEK, is used to describe the knowledge held by indigenous cultures about their immediate environment and the cultural practices that build on that knowledge. Traditional ecological knowledge includes an intimate and detailed knowledge of plants, animals, and natural phenomena, the development and use of appropriate technologies for hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry, and a holistic knowledge, or "world view" which parallels the scientific discipline of ecology (Berkes 1993).


Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Application by Service Scientists Fact Sheet cover. Credit: USFWSFact Sheet — Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Application by Service Scientists
Traditional Ecological Knowledge, also called by other names including Indigenous Knowledge or Native Science, (hereafter, TEK) refers to the evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes and timing of events that are used for lifeways, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry. Read more (PDF).




Traditional Ecological Knowledge an Introduction cover. Credit: USFWSTraditional Ecological Knowledge an Introduction
The evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes, and timing of events that are used for lifeways. Read more (PDF).



Comparing Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science cover. Credit: Barnhardt and Kawagley 2005Comparing Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science
From Barnhardt and Kawagley 2005. Read more (PDF).





Integrating Use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge into U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cover. Credit: USFWSIntegrating Use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge into U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
What is TEK? A Working Definition — The evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment.This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes, and timing of events that are used for lifeways. Accumulating body of knowledge, practice and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (human and non‐human) with one another and with the environment. It encompasses the world view of indigenous people which includes ecology, spirituality, human and animal relationships, and more. Read more (PDF).

 

Last updated: December 11, 2014