The need to recognize diverse actors, their knowledge and values is being widely promoted as critical for sustainability in contemporary land use, natural resource management and conservation initiatives. However, in much of the case study literature, the value of including indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) in the management and governance of landscapes tends to be overlooked and undervalued. Understanding ILK as comprising indigenous, local and traditional knowledge, this systematic review synthesizes how ILK has been viewed and incorporated into landscape-based studies; what processes, mechanisms and areas of focus have been used to integrate it; and the challenges and opportunities that arise in doing so. Queries from bibliographic databases (Web of Science, JSTOR, Scopus and Africa Wide) were employed. Findings from the review underscore that the literature and case studies that link landscapes and ILK are dominated by a focus on agricultural systems, followed by social-ecological systems, indigenous governance, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and climate change studies, especially those related to early warning systems for disaster risk reduction. The growing importance of multi-stakeholder collaborations in local landscape research and the promotion of inclusive consultations have helped to bring ILK to the fore in the knowledge development process. This, in turn, has helped to support improved landscape management, governance and planning for more resilient landscapes. However, more research is needed to explore ways to more effectively link ILK and scientific knowledge in landscape studies, particularly in the co-management of these social-ecological systems. More studies that confirm the usefulness of ILK, recognize multiple landscape values and their interaction with structures and policies dealing with landscape management and conservation are necessary for enhanced sustainability.
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