Traditional ecological knowledge and global environmental change: Research findings and policy implications

Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Esteve Corbera, Victoria Reyes-García

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206 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces the special feature of Ecology and Society entitled "Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Environmental Change. The special feature addresses two main research themes. The first theme concerns the resilience of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (hereafter TEK) and the conditions that might explain its loss or persistence in the face of global change. The second theme relates to new findings regarding the way in which TEK strengthens community resilience to respond to the multiple stressors of global environmental change. Those themes are analyzed using case studies from Africa, Asia, America and Europe. Theoretical insights and empirical findings from the studies suggest that despite the generalized worldwide trend of TEK erosion, substantial pockets of TEK persist in both developing and developed countries. A common trend on the studies presented here is hybridization, where traditional knowledge, practices, and beliefs are merged with novel forms of knowledge and technologies to create new knowledge systems. The findings also reinforce previous hypotheses pointing at the importance of TEK systems as reservoirs of experiential knowledge that can provide important insights for the design of adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with global environmental change. Based on the results from papers in this feature, we discuss policy directions that might help to promote maintenance and restoration of living TEK systems as sources of socialecological resilience. © 2013 by the author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Adaptation
  • Biocultural diversity
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Resilience
  • Small-scale societies


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