This volume provides an overview of key themes in Indigenous Environmental Knowledge (IEK) and anchors them with brief but well-grounded empirical case studies of relevance for each of these themes, drawn from bioculturally diverse areas around the world. It provides an incisive, cutting-edge overview of the conceptual and philosophical issues, while providing constructive examples of how IEK studies have been implemented to beneficial effect in ecological restoration, stewardship, and governance schemes.

Collectively, the chapters in the Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Environmental Knowledge cover Indigenous Knowledge not only in a wide range of cultures and livelihood contexts, but also in a wide range of environments, including drylands, savannah grassland, tropical forests, mountain landscapes, temperate and boreal forests, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, and coastal environments. The chapters discuss the complexities and nuances of Indigenous cosmologies and ethno-metaphysics and the treatment and incorporation of IEK in local, national, and international environmental policies. Taken together, the chapters in this volume make a strong case for the potential of Indigenous Knowledge in addressing today’s local and global environmental challenges, especially when approached from a perspective of appreciative inquiry, using cross-cultural methods and ethical, collaborative approaches which limit bias and inappropriate extraction of IEK.

The book is a guide for graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching, and a key reference for academics in development studies, environmental studies, geography, anthropology, and beyond, as well as anyone with an interest in Indigenous Environmental Knowledge.

chapter 1|19 pages


ByThomas F. Thornton, Shonil A. Bhagwat

part I|87 pages

Concepts and context

chapter 2|12 pages

Indigenous Ecological Knowledge

Why bother?
ByEugene Hunn

chapter 3|11 pages

Context matters

The holism and subjectivity of environmental knowledge
ByChris S. Duvall

chapter 5|9 pages

On serving salmon

An ethnography of hyperkeystone interactions in Interior Alaska
ByShiaki Kondo

chapter 6|5 pages

Performance knowledge

Uncovering the dynamics of biocultural diversity of Borneo’s tropical forests through a Penan hunting technique
ByRajindra K. Puri

chapter 7|23 pages

Soil ethnoecology

ByPaul Sillitoe

chapter 8|13 pages

Bridging paradigms

Analyzing traditional Tsimane’ hunting with a double lens
ByArmando Medinaceli

part II|89 pages

Issues of perspective, values, and engagement

chapter 9|15 pages

Asian and Middle Eastern pastoralists

ByAriell Ahearn, Dawn Chatty

chapter 10|10 pages

Balance on every ledger

Kwakwaka’wakw resource values and traditional ecological management
ByDouglas Deur, Kim Recalma-Clutesi, Chief Adam Dick

chapter 11|10 pages

Challenges surrounding education and transmission of Ainu Indigenous Ecological Knowledge in Japan

Disparate valuations of a people and their IEK
ByJeff Gayman

chapter 12|7 pages

Engaging with Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in the North American Arctic

Moving from documentation to decisions in environmental governance
ByHenry P. Huntington

chapter 13|16 pages

Taiga Forest reindeer herders and hunters, subsistence, stewardship

ByNadezhda Mamontova

chapter 14|17 pages

Tlingit engagement with salmon

The philosophy and practice of relational sustainability
BySteve J. Langdon

chapter 15|12 pages

Mātauranga as knowledge, process and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand

ByPriscilla Wehi, Hēmi Whaanga, Krushil Watene, Tammy Steeves

part III|115 pages

Applications of IEK for adaptation, conservation, and coexistence

chapter 16|13 pages

Integrating Amazigh cultural practices in Moroccan High Atlas biodiversity conservation

ByIrene Teixidor-Toneu, Gary Martin, Soufiane M’sou, Ugo D’Ambrosio

chapter 17|10 pages

Sacred groves of Sierra Leone

Preserving Indigenous Environmental Knowledge
ByAlison A. Ormsby

chapter 18|21 pages

The role of biodiversity in the maintenance of ecosystem services in human-dominated landscapes

Evidence from the Terai Plains of Nepal
ByJessica P. R. Thorn, Thomas F. Thornton, Ariella Helfgott, Kathy J. Willis

chapter 19|10 pages

Creating coexistence

Traditional knowledge and institutions as a foundation for Maasai-wildlife coexistence in southern Kenya
ByGuy Western, Samantha Russell

chapter 20|11 pages

Cultural keystone species as indicators of climatic changes

ByVictoria Wyllie de Echeverria

chapter 21|9 pages

Living with elephants

Indigenous world-views
ByTarshish Thekaekara

chapter 22|24 pages

Do dragons prevent deforestation?

The Gambia’s sacred forests
ByAshley Massey Marks, Joshua B. Fisher, Shonil A. Bhagwat

part IV|77 pages

Governance and equity

chapter 25|14 pages

The use and misuse of IEK in conservation in Vietnam

ByPamela McElwee

chapter 26|13 pages

Including Indigenous and Local Knowledge in the work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment

Outcomes and lessons for the future
ByPamela McElwee, Hien T. Ngo, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Victoria Reyes-García, Zsolt Molnár, Maximilien Guêze, Yildiz Aumeruddy-Thomas, Sandra Díaz, Eduardo S. Brondízio

chapter 27|10 pages

Indigenous Knowledge, knowledge-holders and marine environmental governance

BySuzanne von der Porten, Yoshitaka Ota, Devi Mucina

chapter 28|26 pages

Incorporating social-ecological systems into protected area networks

Territories and areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (ICCAs) in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
ByAshley Massey Marks, Paul Porodong, Shonil A. Bhagwat