The Canadian International Development Agency, reviewed and synthesized wide ranging literature on 'alternative' systems of African indigenous peoples' traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), as revealed by indigenous land-use and renewable resource management practices. International involvement in this area by the UN, the World Bank, and various NGOs (IUCN, IIED [etc]), was also investigated to help identify the present scope or practical interest of TEK and possible future directions. Main traditional livelihoods and land-use practices which sustainably exploit the ecosystem include sedentary and shifting agriculture, nomadic pastoralism, hunting, fishing, food gathering, rainforest use and limited agro-forestry for food, materials and medicines, etc. Case-studies were made of the following regions of African tribal groups: Kenya - Maasai; Tanzania - Pare; Zaramo, Luguru; Niger - Fulani; and the San of the Kalahari. The study also investigated the nature or ambiguity between indigenous and post-colonial 'traditional' practices of rural Africa and the constraints or challenges this poses to the current transmission and respect for TEK among indigenous Africans and development planners alike.
Tokyo-based United Nations University is developing a worldwide Archive of Traditional Knowledge using optical disc technology for print and image recording. Medicine, health, protection and child care, culture, civilization, and applications of botanical knowledge to medicine and birth control are on the list as future resources to be available through this project. A similar UNU funded archive in Jamaica -- the Jamaican Memory Bank -- has been in use since 1981 and contributes greatly to the national development and the tourist industry in Jamaica.
FISHBASE is a worldwide computerized repository of ethno-ichthyology or indigenous knowledge on fishes of the world, presently developed at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and numerous other institution throughout the world. It is shown that the flexible structure of FISHBASE can accommodate both recent and ancient ethno-ichthyological information, [ie] 'indigenous knowledge', not generally considered part of ichthyology.
In many fisheries, resource management is largely informed by professional marine biologists and public officials. Such management often assumes that the extensive knowledge that fisherfolk have achieved, after years of practical experience, is of relatively little use indeed, in many cases there is very little attempt to utilize such knowledge in ecological research and in the process of decision-making. At the same time, much recent research indicates that, given the uncertain (if not chaotic) nature of marine ecosystems, practitioners' knowledge -- knowledge gained on the spot, in the course of production -- is of key importance. Studies are being undertaken by the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics to explore, with particular reference to Icelandic fishing, how indigenous producers acquire knowledge about the ecosystem within which they operate, how their knowledge about the ecosystem within which they operate, how their knowledge differs from that of professional biologists, and to what extent the former could be brought more systematically into the process of resource management for the purpose of ensuring sustainability.
For many centuries, conservation has been practiced by the peoples of South Africa, evidence suggesting the application of elaborate natural resource management systems by indigenous African people such as the San, Khoi and Nguni prior to the country's colonisation. Because most traditional African societies were for the most part dependent upon natural resources, including the wildlife that surrounded them, political systems generally included a set of rules and procedures designed to regulate the use of natural resources. Examples include the setting aside of hunting preserves for Zulu royalty, soil conservation methods of the BaTswana people, and totemic protection among people such as the BaSotho. A rich folklore reflected the close relationship between traditional societies and nature, and linked people to the environment through an ethic which was strongly spiritual and cultural.
Existing declarations by indigenous and local communities to the extent they relate to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, include: the [Kari Oca Declaration], the [Mataatua Declaration], the [Santa Cruz Declaration], the [Leticia Declaration and Plan of Action], the [Treaty for Life Forms Patent Free Pacific], the [Ukupseni Kuna Yala Declaration], the [Heart of the Peoples Declaration on Biodiversity and Biological Ethics], the [Jovel Declaration on Indigenous Communities], [Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity], and the [Chiapas Declaration]. Other relevant declarations include [Convention 169] of the International Labour Organization and Agenda 21.
2. Many South Pacific islanders possessed and continue to possess a wealth of environmental knowledge, including traditional systems of resource management. Taboos, bans, seasons, wildlife preserves, marine preserves, land and lagoon tenure systems, systems of time reckoning, social stratification, religion, and population control (overseas voyaging, suicidal voyages, celibacy, prevention of conception, abortion, and infanticide) undoubtedly function in conserving island resources. Several of these inadvertent or recognized conservation practices were distinctly effective in terms of conserving resources, and, if those appropriate were supported or adapted to modern conditions, they could continue to be so. Yet, little time remains to identify, record, and possibly preserve some of these traditional systems of conservation management.