“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”
Wade Davis, anthropologist
Wade Davis, anthropologist
Due to rapid environmental changes, there is a pressing need to create reliable long-term datasets on wild animals’ ecology. Traditional and local ecological knowledge (TEK/LEK), gathered through interviews with Elders and hunters living in close relationship with wildlife, is a key source of information [1–5]. By using robust social research methods [1,6–8], it is possible to produce a qualitative database providing valuable complementary information on aspects of wildlife ecology and physiology either overlooked or poorly understood by the scientific community [1,3,4].
Through my current postdoctoral project, local ecological knowledge of local walrus hunters and Inuit Elders was documented to increase our understanding of walruses’ distribution, behaviour and health in Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada).
Overall, I am particularly interested in implementing strategies to increase trust and confidence in local ecological knowledge datasets as a valuable source of knowledge for wildlife management decisions.
This project was approved by the four Inuit communities & their Local Hunting Fishing & Trapping Associations, Northern Villages & Landholding Corporations (March-September 2013), the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (December 2012) and by Trent University Research Ethics Board (December 2012) and the Trent Aboriginal Education Council (February 2013).
SITES: Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada), credit: Makivik Corporation; INTERVIEW with an Inuk Elder (Quaqtaq, June 2013); MAPPING process (Quaqtaq, June 2013); VALIDATION workshop with Ali, Charlie, Mattiusi and Tivi (Ivujivik, July 2014)
- Martinez-Levasseur L.M., Furgal C., Hammill M., and Burness G. (2016) Towards a better understanding of the effects of UV on Atlantic walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus): a study combining histological data with local ecological knowledge. PloS One. 11(4):e0152122
- Martinez-Levasseur L.M., Furgal C., Hammill M. and Burness G. Challenges & strategies when mapping Local Ecological Knowledge. Polar Biology. In revision
- Martinez-Levasseur L.M., Furgal C., Hammill M. and Burness G. Dealing with limitations and biases when documenting Inuit Knowledge of Arctic marine species: the example of walrus in Nunavik (Quebec, Canada). Arctic Change 2014. Ottawa, Canada, 8-11 December 2014 (poster presentation)
References (current web page)
- Huntington HPP. Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Science: Methods and Applications. Ecol Appl. 2000;10: 1270–1274.
- Anadón JD, Giménez A, Ballestar R, Pérez I. Evaluation of local ecological knowledge as a method for collecting extensive data on animal abundance. Conserv Biol. 2008;23: 617–625. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01145.x
- Service CN, Adams MS, Artelle KA, Paquet P, Grant L V., Darimont CT. Indigenous knowledge and science unite to reveal spatial and temporal dimensions of distributional shift in wildlife of conservation concern. PLoS One. 2014;9: e101595. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101595
- Huntington HPP. The local perspective. Nature. 2011;478: 182–183. doi:10.1038/478182a
- Pardo-de-Santayana M, Macía MJ. Biodiversity: The benefits of traditional knowledge. Nature. 2015;518: 487–488.
- Seidman I. Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences. New York: Teachers College Press; 2006.
- Creswell JW. Research design - Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Third Edition. Thousand O. London, New Delhi: Sage Publications; 2009.
- Tong A, Sainsbury P, Craig J. Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): A 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. Int J Qual Heal Care. 2007;19: 349–357. doi:10.1093/intqhc/mzm042