top of page

Traditional ecological knowledge

Ecological restoration’s success depends on the integration of science and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). TEK can be defined as a complex amalgam of different layers of knowledge not suiting conventional science’s quantitative and deductive processes but based on trial and error and, at times, invested with a strong spiritual component. TEK has a patterned distribution and is shared, passed on from generation to generation, between members of a distinct cultural group, instructing on the interactions of their local environment. TEK therefore is often discarded as unproven, yet science’s positivist claim, maintaining whatever cannot be proven scientifically is not real, can just as easily be reduced to a belief system. Regardless, for over twenty years, traditional knowledge’s historical, long-term observations have been regarded as complementary to conventional science’s focus on synchrony.


Together, traditional and conventional knowledge form an abstract/concrete dichotomy formulating a more holistic understanding of the environment. This knowledge integration draws social and ecological profiles respectful of local cultures that better inform resource management and protect cultural and biological diversities  Recognizing TEK’s scientific value greatly benefits local communities in terms of autonomy, governance, social justice and identity, by increasing their participation and stewardship in resource management.

bottom of page