Local Ecological Knowledge among Baka children. A case of 'children's culture'?

Sandrine Gallois, Romain Duda, Victoria Reyes-García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

22 Citations (Scopus)


Childhood is an extensive life period specific to the human species and a key stage for development. Considering the importance of childhood for cultural transmission, we test the existence of a children's culture, or child-specific knowledge and practices not necessarily shared with adults, among the Baka in Southeast Cameroon. Using structured questionnaires, we collected data among 69 children and 175 adults to assess the ability to name, identify, and conceptualize animals and wild edibles. We found that some of the ecological knowledge related to little mammals and birds reported by Baka children was not reported by adults. We also found similarities between children's and adults' knowledge, both regarding the content of knowledge and how knowledge is distributed. Thus, children in middle childhood hold similar knowledge to adults, especially related to wild edibles. Moreover, as children age, they start shedding child-specific knowledge and holding more adult-specific knowledge. Echoing the gendered knowledge distribution present in adulthood, from middle childhood, there are differences in the knowledge held by boys and girls. We discuss our results highlighting the existence of specific ecological knowledge held by Baka children, the overlap between children's and adults' knowledge, and the changes in children's ecological knowledge as they move into adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-80
JournalJournal of Ethnobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Cameroon
  • cultural transmission
  • ethnoecology
  • hunter-gatherer
  • peer culture


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