Advancing the inclusion of indigenous and local knowledge in policy : towards legitimate and effective assessment and planning

Ayaviri Matuk van Maurik, Fernanda


This thesis aims to understand how to advance the legitimacy and effectiveness of processes and outcomes of environmental policies which aim to include Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) together with scientific knowledge. This inclusion is considered important in view of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC)’s needs and their contributions – via ILK and practices – to sustainability and biodiversity conservation. Practitioners have included ILK in assessments and planning of natural resource management and governance with IPLC, by means of knowledge integration and co-production processes which draw on frameworks such as ecosystem services (ES), nature’s contributions to people (NCP), and adaptive collaborative management (ACM). While these processes aim to result in outcomes that are considered legitimate and effective by its different participants, they often fail to do so. It has proven to be challenging for science and policy actors to recognize the diversity of knowledge systems in a non-hierarchical and non-dichotomized way; to bridge diverse worldviews that enable the relational addressing of people and nature; and to overcome uneven power relations during participatory processes in practice. The thesis applies an ethnoecological and action-research approach and draws on concepts from social-ecological systems, science and technology studies, and geography to addresses two case studies: a Brazilian (semi-arid) maroon community and an (Amazon) Indigenous people and REDD+ policy. The thesis has resulted in three published articles, in Geoforum (, Ecosystems and People ( and Environmental Science & Policy (