Representing knowledge: Local ecological knowledge (LEK) and natural resource governance in India

Aarthi Sridhar, Meera Oomen

India abounds not only in biodiversity but also in communities dependent on natural resources. These communities have forged unique relationships with their specific ecosystems such as forests, oceans, rivers, coasts, etc. over many generations and derived both sustenance and livelihoods directly from these natural habitats. As a result, these groups are rich repositories of ecological knowledge, and have the the potential to inform sustainable resource management and biodiversity conservation planning and interventions.

At the behest of the Indian offices of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Dakshin undertook a first-of-its kind comprehensive review of literature on LEK, with the goal of understanding its place in environmental governance particularly vis-a-vis coastal and marine areas. The study was part of a larger project titled ‘Conservation and Sustainable Management of Coastal and Marine Protected Areas, India’, initiated by the Government of India’s  Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The study was intended to improve legibility, plurality and democratisation of local knowledge in India and serve as a starting point for knowledge-based natural governance efforts in the country.



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