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Interdisciplinary progress in approaches to address social-ecological and ecocultural systems

  • JULES PRETTY (a1)
Abstract
SUMMARY

The emergent human cultures have shaped, and in turn been shaped by, local ecosystems. Yet humanity's intense modification of the environment has resulted in dramatic worldwide declines in natural and cultural capital. Social-ecological systems are becoming more vulnerable through the disruption of livelihoods, governance, institutions, resources and cultural traditions. This paper reviews the environmental sub-disciplines that have emerged to seek solutions for conservation and maintenance of the resilience of social-ecological systems. It shows that a central component is engagement with the knowledges of people within their contexts. Local knowledges of nature (traditional, indigenous, local ecological knowledge and ecoliteracy) are used by place-based cultures to guide actions towards nature. The importance of new engagements between different knowledges is now becoming more widely recognized by scientific institutions. Yet there still exist many false dualisms (for example local knowledge versus science) which tend to emphasize a superiority of one over the other. Ecocultures retain or strive to regain their connections with the environment, and thus improve their own resilience. Revitalization projects offer ways to connect knowledge with action to produce optimal outcomes for both nature and culture, suggesting that systems can be redesigned by emphasis on incorporation of local and traditional knowledge systems.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Jules Pretty e-mail: jpretty@essex.ac.uk
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

F. Berkes (2001) Religious traditions and biodiversity. Encyclopaedia of Biodiversity 5:109120.

A. Escobar (2008) Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life. Redes, USA: Duke University Press.

C. Folke , J. Colding , P. Olsson & T. Hahn (2007) Interdependent social-ecological systems. In: Sage Handbook on Environment and Society, ed. J. Pretty , A. Ball , T. Benton , J. Guivant , D. Lee , D. Orr , M. Pfeffer & H. Ward , pp. 536552. London, UK: Sage.

E. Ostrom (1990) Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

A. Phillips (2002) Management Guidelines for IUCN Category V Protected Areas: Protected Landscapes and Seascapes. Cambridge, UK and Cardiff, UK: IUCN and University of Cardiff.

D.A. Posey , ed. (1999) Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP and IT Publications.

V.M. Toledo (2001) Biodiversity and indigenous peoples. Encyclopaedia of Biodiversity 3: 451463.

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Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
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