Indigenous ecosystem-based adaptation and community-based ecocultural restoration during rapid climate change disruption: Lessons for Western restorationists
Dennis Martinez, paper prepared for the 4th World Congress on Ecological Restoration, August 2011

In this paper, Dennis Martinez argues that ecocultural restoration is the primary building block for ecosystem-based adaptation. Ecocultural restoration is distinguished from ecological restoration by its additional focus on culturally important species while also taking care of the non-cultural communities that the cultural plants are associated with; and the use of traditional landcare practices like prescribed burning, selective harvesting, microsite-targeted agroecology, and agroforestry through selective cutting and replanting. He notes the potential for complementarity between Indigenous and Western ways of knowing in meeting the challenge of rapid climate disruption through ecocultural restoration and ecosystem-based adaptation, and increasing mutually respectful collaborations in the field between Western researchers and Native experts. However, Western scientists still need to understand that the source of traditional ecological knowledge depends on the survival of Indigenous cultures, not scientific papers and books. Restoration ecology must move beyond its present ideological fixation on a purely autogenic nature and embrace a natural world that in large part includes Indigenous cultural practices, and reestablish the relationship between culture and nature. Read the paper …