A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

A review of Indigenous knowledge and participation in environmental monitoring

Author(s): Kim-Ly Thompson, Trevor C. Lantz, Natalie C. Ban
Year Published: 2020

There is a growing interest by governments and academics in including Indigenous knowledge alongside scientific knowledge in environmental management, including monitoring. Given this growing interest, a critical review of how Indigenous peoples have been engaged in monitoring is needed. We reviewed and analyzed the academic literature to answer the following questions: How have Indigenous peoples participated in environmental monitoring, and how has their participation influenced monitoring objectives, indicators, methods, and monitoring outcomes? We also summarized how this literature discussed power, governance, and the use of both Indigenous and scientific knowledge in environmental monitoring efforts. We found that the literature most often characterized participation as data collection, and that higher degrees of participation and power held by Indigenous peoples in environmental monitoring leads to initiatives that have different objectives, indicators, and outcomes than those with heavier involvement of external groups. Our review also showed that a key challenge of conducting effective monitoring that leverages both Indigenous knowledge systems and science is the power imbalances that uncouple Indigenous monitoring efforts from management. We encourage future initiatives to carefully consider the ways in which power and governance shape their programs and the ability of their monitoring to lead to meaningful management actions.

Citation: Thompson K-L, LantzTC, and Ban NC. 2020. A review of Indigenous knowledge and participation in environmental monitoring. Ecology & Society 25 (2) article 10. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11503-250210
Topic(s): Fire & Traditional Knowledge, Management Approaches, Adaptive Management
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 21076
Record updated: May 4, 2020