Factors influencing local ecological knowledge maintenance in Mediterranean watersheds: Insights for environmental policies
This recent paper (Iniesta-Arandia et al.) analyzed the factors affecting LEK maintenance and transmission in a Mediterranean watershed.
Photo: Ewa Wisniewska/Azote
n a semi-arid, agricultural watershed in southeastern Spain, Iniesta-Arandia and colleagues found that maintenance of Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) was dependent on the time individuals spent in the area, as well as the social relationships within the family and the farmers in the community. There were also significant intergenerational and gender differences in the amount of LEK held by the respondents. Underlying drivers that are eroding LEK in the region are operating on a broader scale: mainly the outmigration from rural communities, which is strongly connected to the time spent in the area, and the mechanization of agriculture. The authors argue for a new conservation paradigm, where protected areas truly address social-ecological interactions, by not only managing for biodiversity, but also for the maintenance and evolution of LEK and biocultural diversity. Protected areas also need to account for intergenerational and gender aspects, by for example facilitating transmission of LEK to younger generations.