Indigenous and local knowledge in sustainability transformations research: a literature review
Scholars, politicians, practitioners, and civil society increasingly call for sustainability transformations to cope with urgent social and environmental challenges. In sustainability transformations research, understandings of transformations are often dominated by Western scientific knowledge.
Through a systematic literature review, we investigated how indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) is represented in peer-reviewed empirical scientific papers that apply ILK in contexts of transformation, transition, and change. Our results show, first, that all papers applied ILK to confirm and complement scientific knowledge in contexts of environmental, climate, social-ecological, and species change.
Only four papers (5%) applied ILK to conduct research on transformations. Second, we identified four research clusters that apply ILK in contexts of transformation, transition, or change in (1) Arctic, (2) terrestrial, (3) coastal, and (4) grass and rangelands environments. These clusters are located along two axes: tropic to Arctic and marine to terrestrial. Finally, our results indicate that indigenous and local understandings of transformations are currently neglected in the scholarly transformations discourse. The reviewed papers do not focus on how indigenous peoples and local communities understand transformations, instead they focus on what changes indigenous peoples and local communities observe and describe, resulting from their daily experiences and activities.
We argue that because of its in-depth local, place-based character, ILK can substantially contribute to a more plural understanding of transformations and the assessment of transformative change. We conclude that future research needs to investigate how to gain a more plural understanding of transformations that leads potentially to more inclusive actions toward more just, equitable, and sustainable futures on a local and global level.
Research news | 2022-08-12
What it takes to make different approaches work together
Researchers invite readers “behind the scenes” to share their experiences combining agent-based modelling and controlled behavioural experiments
Research news | 2022-08-11
Adding the technological to the social-ecological
Researchers make the case for a more systematic way of thinking when designing urban, nature-based solutions
Research news | 2022-08-05
Not only clear-cuts, but even forest degradation drives CO2 emissions
Further degradation of the Amazon rainforest can lead to enormous C02 emissions in the upcoming decades, unless it is halted soon, new study finds
Research news | 2022-08-04
Growing tree cover can boost or dwindle water availability
Tree restoration is a great way to mitigate climate change and store atmospheric carbon. But when trees are planted at a large scale, regional water availability can be seriously affected
Research news | 2022-07-05
New exhibition at Skansen open-air museum features inputs from centre
Last week, Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm, launched the first part of an exhibition about biodiversity with contributions by the Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2022-07-01
Human actions drastically alter river flows
Diminishing water flows may jeopardize the lives of millions of people that depend on the rivers for food production, energy or sanitation