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