sILK: Synthesizing Indigenous and Local Knowledge worldviews to develop frameworks for effective operationalization of relational values in environmental governance

First meeting: tba

Austin Himes, Mississippi State University, USA
Barbara Muraca, University of Oregon, USA

iDiv members: Aletta Bonn

Project summary:
We propose a working group to develop an operational framework for incorporating relational values (hereafter RV) into ecosystem management informed by Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK). The working group will consist of experts in ecology, philosophy, economics, sociology, social-ecological systems, environmental psychology, interdisciplinary study and anthropology.

Incorporating RV into environmental management and governance can increase environmental justice, reduce conflicts, and improve outcomes for biodiversity and people. However, because RV develop from local context-specific relationships between people and nature, it is difficult to incorporate them at national or international levels, e.g. in natural capital accounting or national conservation and sustainability strategies. We hypothesize that RV operationalization in environmental management requires local approaches and a framework for mediation across different knowledge systems based on portable elements of the place-based and context specific values of nature exemplified in local and Indigenous communities.

Our working group will synthesize data and themes from participants’ previous case studies and research as well as from literature spanning multiple socio-cultural and geographic con-texts to (1) explore ILK perspectives through a RV lens, (2) evaluate existing methods, environmental governance, and management approaches that may be adapted to engage both ILK and RV, and (3) identify conceptual, operational, and capacity gaps to explore in future collaborative research. The products of the working group will be i) a conceptual paper describing an operational framework for RV based on ILK ii) a data driven paper synthesizing participants’ research, iii) science-policy guidelines, iv) project proposal drafts for future collaboration.

Group Members:

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