Community-based conservation and traditional ecological knowledge: Implications for social-ecological resilience

Isabel Ruiz-Mallén, Esteve Corbera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Our review highlights how traditional ecological knowledge influences people's adaptive capacity to socialecological change and identifies a set of mechanisms that contribute to such capacity in the context of community-based biodiversity conservation initiatives. Twenty-three publications, including twenty-nine case studies, were reviewed with the aim of investigating how local knowledge, community-based conservation, and resilience interrelate in social-ecological systems. We highlight that such relationships have not been systematically addressed in regions where a great number of community conservation initiatives are found; and we identify a set of factors that foster people's adaptive capacity to social-ecological change and a number of social processes that, in contrast, undermine such capacity and the overall resilience of the socialecological system. We suggest that there is a need to further investigate how climate variability and other events affect the joint evolution of conservation outcomes and traditional ecological knowledge, and there is a need to expand the current focus on social factors to explain changes in traditional ecological knowledge and adaptive capacity towards a broader approach that pays attention to ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. © 2013 by the author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalEcology and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Community-based conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Local ecological knowledge
  • Natural resource management
  • Social-ecological change
  • Social-ecological resilience
  • Traditional ecological knowledge


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