Indigenous and local knowledge in environmental management for human-nature connectedness: a leverage points perspective
Indigenous peoples are key actors for environmental management because they hold valuable indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) for the sustainable stewardship of nature. However, the consideration of ILK in environmental management is still limited.
We explore how environmental government institutions in Colombia have involved indigenous communities in 2212 environmental management projects between 2004 and 2015. Only 1% of these projects involved indigenous peoples as main actors. We applied the Leverage Points (LP) perspective in a content analysis to identify ‘where’ and ‘how’ these projects promote transformative changes within indigenous territories. Moreover, we investigated the interactions between projects targeting shallow and deep LP using cluster analysis.
Our results show that these projects mainly seek to improve the well-being of indigenous peoples and consider ILK in their interventions, which suggests changes in deep LP. Additionally, these projects usually combined interventions targeting both shallow and deep LP while using ILK to improve environmental management practices (e.g., Life Plans) and developing participatory land-use planning in the indigenous territories.
We argue that the involvement of ILK in environmental management can lead to stronger human–nature connectedness and thus to more successful conservation policies. However, this involvement is still at an early stage in Colombia.
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