Definitions of ethnoecological research terms

Ethnoecology Ethnoecology is the study of local or native people’s interaction with the environment in which they live and work, including their perceptions, use and management, and knowledge. Sub-disciplines of ethnoecology include ethnobiology, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, and ethnopharmacology. Local people, social scientists, and natural scientists ideally conduct ethnoecological research together, as a team.
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)

“TEK is a body of knowledge and beliefs transmitted through oral tradition and first-hand observation. It includes a system of classification, a set of empirical observations about the local environment and a system of self-management that governs resource use. Ecological aspects are closely tied to social and spiritual aspects of the knowledge system. The quantity and quality of TEK varies among community members, depending upon gender, age, social status, intellectual capability and profession (hunter, spiritual leader, healer, etc.). With its roots firmly in the past, TEK is both cumulative and dynamic, building upon the experience of earlier generations and adapting to the new technological and socioeconomic changes of the present” (Dene Cultural Institute 1995 quoted in Stevenson, 281).

Stevenson, M. G. (1996). "Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments." Arctic 49(3): 278-291.

“TEK is a cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs, handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment. Further, TEK is an attribute of societies with historical continuity in resource use practices; by and large, these are non-industrial or less technologically advanced societies, many of them indigenous or tribal” (Berkes, 3).

Berkes, F. (1993). Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Perspective. Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Concepts and Cases. J. T. Inglis. Ottawa, Ottawa, International Program on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and International Development Research Centre.

Indigenous knowledge

“Indigenous knowledge can be viewed as having two sources: traditional knowledge and nontraditional knowledge. … 1) aboriginal people also possess knowledge and experiences not grounded in traditional lifestyles, spirituality, philosophy, social relations, and cultural values; and 2) indigenous knowledge is the articulation, and frequently the dialectic, of traditional and nontraditional knowledge” (Stevenson 280).

Stevenson, M. G. (1996). "Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments." Arctic 49(3): 278-291.

Nontraditional and Traditional knowledge

Nontraditional knowledge is derived from “interactions with non-aboriginal people and institutions; television and other modern media; formal schooling in numeracy and literacy; the adoption of Western scientific thinking; and exposure to foreign values, attitudes, and philosophies. In contrast, traditional knowledge systems are based on the shared experiences, customs, values, traditions, subsistence lifestyles, social interactions, ideological orientations, and spiritual beliefs unique to aboriginal communities. Together, these two foundations of knowledge articulate to form a worldview … that provides meaning and value to the lives of contemporary aboriginal peoples” (Stevenson, 281).

Stevenson, M. G. (1996). "Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments." Arctic 49(3): 278-291.

Local ecological knowledge (LEK) LEK is similar to TEK in that it is tied to place (e.g., specific hunting or fishing grounds) and is knowledge acquired through experience and observation. It can be acquired over a single lifetime or over many generations. LEK differs from TEK in that it does not require an ancient or even a multi-generational accumulation of knowledge, it does not require that the population be indigenous, and it does not require embedding in a broader shared culture. In other words, an individual can accumulate LEK over the course of one lifetime interacting with a local environment.
Fishers’ ecological knowledge (FEK)

“FEK is local knowledge concerning interannual, seasonal,lunar, diet and food-related variations in the behavior and movements of marine fishes and mammals […]. Such knowledge is passed from generation to generation of fishers and influences the nature, timing, and location of their fishing” (Johannes, 265).

Johannes, R. E., M. M. R. Freeman, et al. (2000). "Ignore Fishers' Knowledge and Miss the Boat." Fish and Fisheries 1: 257-271.

Local Fisheries Knowledge (LFK) LFK is a similar to local ecological knowledge in that it is tied to place, is acquired through experience and observation, and may be acquired over a single lifetime or passed down over many generations. Unlike local ecological knowledge, LFK includes non-ecological knowledge related to fisheries, including but not limited to business aspects of fishing, economics, social dynamics, and local fishing culture.

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