Traditional Ecological Knowledge - Issues

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: USFWSIs Indigenous Knowledge Intellectural Property?
Indigenous or traditional knowledge has become a buzzword in environmental circles, with puzzled scientists often wondering whether age-old wisdom might hold answers. brings us an interesting clip about an issue being addressed by the World Intellectual Property Organization: Who owns indigenous knowledge, and should it be protected by patent or copyright as intellectual property? Click here to view video (9:38).

Integrating Community Knowledge into Environmental and Natural Resource Decision-MakingIntegrating Community Knowledge into Environmental and Natural Resource Decision-Making
Community knowledge (including traditional, local, and indigenous knowledge) has a role to play in government agency decisions regarding the environment and natural resources. This article considers the benefits of using community knowledge, as well as obstacles to collecting this knowledge and integrating it with Western science. The article further discusses how federal agencies in Alaska use community knowledge and laws that potentially affect this use (including the Data Quality Act). Finally, the article provides recommendations for agencies to consider in collecting and using community knowledge. Read more (PDF).



Last updated: October 28, 2021