In recent years, the field of study variously called local, indigenous or traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) has experienced a crisis brought about by the questioning of some of its basic assumptions. This has included reassessing notions that scientific methods can accurately elicit and describe TEK or that incorporating it into development projects will improve the physical, social or economic well-being of marginalized peoples. The contributors to this volume argue that to accurately and appropriately describe TEK, the historical and political forces that have shaped it, as well as people's day-to-day engagement with the landscape around them must be taken into account. TEK thus emerges, not as an easily translatable tool for development experts, but as a rich and complex element of contemporary lives that should be defined and managed by indigenous and local peoples themselves.
In order to move global society towards a sustainable "ecotopia," solutions must be engaged in specific places and communities, and the authors here argue for re-orienting environmental anthropology from a problem-oriented towards a solutions-focused endeavor. Using case studies from around the world, the contributors-scholar-activists and activist-practitioners- examine the interrelationships between three prominent environmental social movements: bioregionalism, a worldview and political ecology that grounds environmental action and experience; permaculture, a design science for putting the bioregional vision into action; and ecovillages, the ever-dynamic settings for creating sustainable local cultures.
Author: Pauline von Hellermann
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Release Date: 2013-09-30
Genre: Social Science
Governance failure and corruption are increasingly identified as key causes of tropical deforestation. In Nigeria's Edo State, once the showcase of scientific forestry in West Africa, large-scale forest conversion and the virtual depletion of timber stocks are invariably attributed to recent failures in forest management, and are seen as yet another instance of how "things fall apart" in Nigeria. Through an in-depth historical and ethnographic study of forestry in Edo State, this book challenges this routine linking of political and ecological crisis narratives. It shows that the roots of many of today's problems lie in scientific forest management itself, rather than its recent abandonment, and moreover that many "illegal" local practices improve rather than reduce biodiversity and forest cover. The book therefore challenges preconceptions about contemporary Nigeria and highlights the need to reevaluate current understandings of what constitutes "good governance" in tropical forestry.