How do Researchers Perceive the Role of Local Knowledge in Natural Resource Management?

By Julie Wilk.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Implementing sound natural resource management is a complex issue and a synergy of knowledge from all stakeholders, representing local and outside interests, is the only means to attain sustainable solutions. The results from interviews with a number of researchers working in least developed countries have shown that although indigenous knowledge is acknowledged in the local sphere as site-specific, it is scientific knowledge that is considered universally valid and superior. In conflicting circumstances, local knowledge is often considered wrong without recognizing the existence of different contexts, world views or goals and the many examples of the fallibility of science. As researchers, reflecting upon and understanding one’s own world view and perceptions of different sources of knowledge is important as it affects the way that knowledge held by local communities is treated and whether or not it is included in research and development projects and policy documents.

Keywords: Local Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, Natural Resource Management

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.25-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.150MB).

Dr. Julie Wilk

Lecturer, Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden

I have an undergraduate degree in Physical Geography and Anthropology and a doctoral degree in Hydrology. I am presently a lecturer at the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at Linköping University and senior researcher at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. I am presently engaged in teaching within the areas of hydrology, GIS and water resource management and am Program Coordinator of the Master’s Program, Water Resources and Livelihood Security. My main research area is river basin hydrology in developing countries where I am interested in combining different sources of knowledge (e.g. from hydrological models and local inhabitants) to gain a more holistic view of hydrological issues. A current interest is narrowing the gap between scientists and laypeople by using decision-support tools such as hydrological modeling and GIS in a participatory manner in order to increase ownership, relevance and applicability of produced results to attain sustainable solutions.


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