Indigenous Forest Knowledge

Authored by: Hugo Asselin

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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There are more than 370 million indigenous people in the world, in some 90 countries (United Nations, 2009). Article 33 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the principle of self-identification, whereby indigenous peoples themselves define their own identity based on various criteria, among which are culture, language and the occupation of ancestral lands (United Nations, 2009). Several indigenous peoples live in forested ecosystems and rely to various extents on ecosystem goods and services to meet their needs. In many countries, indigenous identities, cultures and practices are tightly linked to traditional lands. This intimate connection between cultures and ecosystems is reflected in the vast body of indigenous forest knowledge. Akin to the traditional ecological knowledge concept, it refers to “a cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment” (Berkes, 2012, p. 7).

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