Environmental Change

Research and Consultation on Indigenous Issues at the Leopold Institute

Traditional knowledge about phenology and changes in relationships between environmental elements held by indigenous people, who are connected to specific landscapes, holds promise for informing contemporary natural resource management strategies and augmenting knowledge and information derived from western science. In practice, however, inadequate means to organize and communicate this traditional knowledge with scientists and managers can limit its consideration in decisions, requiring novel approaches to interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication and collaboration. A team of Leopold Institute scientists and university cooperators have illustrated that Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) is one platform for the assemblage and communication of traditional knowledge vital to protected area management, particularly for restoring fire in the landscape, while preserving linkages to broader cultural contexts. Several publication on the Leopold Institute publications web site provide summaries of case studies to illustrate different potential applications of a PGIS tool in this context and describe some remaining challenges.