Sponsor: Westervelt Ecological Services
Speaker: Pamela McElwee is an Associate Professor of Human Ecology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. She is trained as an interdisciplinary environmental scientist, with a joint Ph.D. in anthropology and forestry and her work focuses on vulnerability of households and communities to global environmental change, including biodiversity loss, deforestation, and climate change. She is the Thematic Group leader on Cultural Practices and Ecosystem Management for IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management.
One of the key findings of the 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment was that Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLC) are a crucial component of environmental management. IPLCs are strongly affected by global environmental change and play key roles in safeguarding and restoring ecosystem resilience to support their well-being. Based on work originally undertaken for the Global Assessment, we published in Restoration Ecology (2019)* a review illustrating how and why IPLC participate in restoration activities through maintaining traditional practices, restoring land degraded by outsiders, and partnering with outside groups. Our review also provided examples of how Indigenous and Local Knowledge can be incorporated in the planning, execution, and monitoring of restoration activities. Based on these examples, our paper argued that IPLC should be a more important focus in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and in post-2020 biodiversity planning activities.
* Reyes-Garcia et al. 2018. The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 3–8