Incorporating indigenous elements into participatory land use and resource management

The hegemonic global model of development and agriculture has threatened ecological sustainability, human well-being and biocultural diversity. Most land use and forest policies address those problems by targeting the resource management of indigenous, traditional peoples (i.e. maroon, fisherman) and peasants with landscape approaches that conceive of community resource management as part of social-ecological-systems. Accordingly, practitioners facilitate communities to rethink ecological and cultural ecosystem services’ management practices,  integrate scientific and local ecological knowledge, and negotiate local landscape governance. Nevertheless, these  knowledge brokering practices are associated with Western technical-scientific knowledge, mind-sets and technical practices that do not always connect and incorporate community’s particular knowledge, practices and worldviews.

This research aims to understand the potentials and challenges to integrate community and policy/practitioners’ knowledge, practices, and worldviews (k-p-w) to implement land use and forest policies in coherence with local land use and resource management systems. The following questions guide the research:

  • How do territorial social-ecological networks (knowledge, practices and worldviews) embedded in local land use construct landscapes, and how does this understanding enable policy makers/practitioners to integrate scientific/global and local knowledge, needs and values when planning resource management?
  • How does the integration of local and Western knowledge occur, and what are the implications of knowledge brokering for knowledge integration and local adaptive resource management
  • What are the similarities and differences between the conceptualization of ecosystem services and land use of indigenous communities and Western planners and policy makers?

    This project has the Kaxinawá de Nova Olinda Indigenous Land (Acre – Brazil) as a case study, where the System of Incentives for Ecosystem
    Services policy (SISA) is articulated with the program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). This research builds on theory and methods from ethnoecology/ethnopedology, political ecology, and geographical literature on territory. The project aims to result in an approach that dialogues with landscape approaches to support a clear understanding of land use systems and landscape dynamics; In addition, it seeks to contribute to the integration of social and natural sciences by bringing together local knowledge and global-local needs and ontologies for a  responsible and inclusive policy implementation.