Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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From Wikipedia:

"Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) describes aboriginal, indigenous, or other forms of traditional knowledges regarding sustainability of local resources. TEK has become a field of study in anthropology, and refers to "a cumulative body of knowledge, belief, and practice, evolving by accumulation of TEK and handed down through generations through traditional songs, stories and beliefs. [It concerns] the relationship of living beings (including human) with their traditional groups and with their environment." Such knowledge is commonly used in natural resource management as a substitute for baseline environmental data to measure changes over time in remote regions that have little recorded scientific data.

The use of traditional knowledge in this field in management and science is controversial since methods of acquiring and accumulating the knowledge, although often including forms of empirical research and experimentation, differ from those used to create and validate scientific ecological knowledge .Non-tribal government agencies, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have established integration programs with some tribal governments in order to utilize TEK in environmental plans and climate change tracking.

There is a debate whether Indigenous populations retain an intellectual property right over traditional knowledge and whether use of this knowledge requires prior permission and license. This is especially complicated because TEK is most frequently preserved as oral tradition and as such may lack objectively confirmed documentation. Ironically, those same methods that might resolve the issue of documentation compromise the very nature of traditional knowledge.

Traditional knowledge is often used to sustain local populations and maintain resources necessary for survival.[6] However, it can be weakened or invalidated in the context of rapid climate change, environmental impact, or other situations in which significant alterations of ecosystems render it weak or obsolete.

TEK can also be referred to as traditional environmental knowledge which emphasizes the different components and interactions of the environment. More specifically it contains the knowledge of species of both animals and plants, and biophysical characteristics of the environment through space and time. However Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Environmental Knowledge can be used interchangeably due to the nature of both terms being synonymous where both emphasize the cultural relations with the environment and non-human relations with animals." (

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