Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Western Science for Optimal Natural Resource Management

  • Serra Jeanette Hoagland Liaison officer, Biologist, PhD
Keywords: Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Western Science, Environment, Natural Resource Management, Native Americans


Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been recognized within indigenous communities for millennia; however, traditional ecological knowledge has received growing attention within the western science (WS) paradigm over the past twenty-five years. Federal agencies, national organizations, and university programs dedicated to natural resource management are beginning to realize the critical need to incorporate different ways of knowing into their natural resource management decisions. Furthermore, Native American tribes on a national scale are assuming greater leadership through self-determination and self-governance and continue to serve as models for sustainable forestry and resource management by incorporating components such as traditional ecological knowledge, community support for integrated resource management plans, and a holistic, dedicated, long-term vision for the environment. This paper reviews recent literature on the integration of TEK and WS and proposes a dualism theory for conservation in the twenty-first century where TEK and WS are applied equally in natural resource management.

Author Biography

Serra Jeanette Hoagland, Liaison officer, Biologist, PhD

She Hoagland recently completed her PhD in forestry at Northern Arizona University and is working with the Mescalero Apache Indian tribe to investigate the effects of forest treatments on the Mexican spotted owl. Much of her current research focuses on applying traditional ecological knowledge to forest and wildlife management. She served as the co-Point of Contact for tribal relations for the Southern Research Station of the US Forest Service. Serra joined the SRS and the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) in 2011 after finishing her Master's degree at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). She received her Bachelor's in Ecology from California Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is Laguna Pueblo from the village of Paguate and remains active in the following Native American organizations: the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES), the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society and the Intertribal Timber Council (ITC). Through the ITC, Serra served as a graduate student observer for 2 years on the Indian Forest Management Assessment Team (IFMAT), which was the third decadal national assessment on the status of Indian forests and forest management.



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