Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge — Intergenerational Land Stewardship

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is the knowledge base acquired by indigenous and local peoples and passed down from generation to generation, through the changes of ecosystems over hundreds or thousands of years, down to the present day. TEK thus provides a unique and valuable perspective on a central question of ecological restoration: what were local ecosystems like before the disturbances of the modern era?

TEK has been developed through direct contact with the environment, learning to adapt through interactions, observations and experiences. It includes an intimate and detailed knowledge of plants, animals, and natural phenomena. It results in the development and use of appropriate technologies for hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, forestry, and all aspects of living in a particular place. These technologies are united by a holistic knowledge or “world view” that parallels the all-inclusive, interconnected orientation of the scientific discipline of ecology.

The term TEK came into widespread use in the 1980s, and now is used widely in many applications, as can be seen by searching for this term on the internet.

One example is this authoritative presentation on “Replicating/Reintroducing historical tribal ignition patterns: Riving the cultural fire regime,” prepared by Dr. Frank Kanawaha Lake, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Orleans/Redding, CA.  Replicating/Reintroducing historical tribal ignition patterns: Reviving the cultural fire regime, Frank Lake_2008.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Links

Comments are closed.