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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Integrating Multiple Knowledge Systems into Environmental Decision-making: Two Case Studies of Participatory Biodiversity Initiatives in Canada and their Implications for Conceptions of Education and Public Involvement

Elin Kelsey

Environmental Values 12(2003): 381-396. doi: 10.3197/096327103129341379

Biodiversity initiatives have traditionally operated within a 'science-first' model of environmental decision-making. The model assumes a hierarchical relationship in which scientific knowledge is elevated above other knowledge systems. Consequently, other types of knowledge held by the public, such as traditional or lay knowledges, are undervalued and under-represented in biodiversity projects. Drawing upon two case studies of biodiversity initiatives in Canada, this paper looks at the role that constructivist conceptions of education play in the integration of alternative knowledge systems in environmental decision-making. In so doing, it argues that the conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing goals outlined by the Convention on Biological Diversity (signed in 1992 under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme) demand new models of governance which embrace the adaptive management qualities of learning organisations.


KEYWORDS: Biodiversity, education, traditional knowledge, environmental decision-making, public, constructivism, adaptive management, learning organisation

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

The Challenge of Scientific Uncertainty and Disunity in Risk Assessment and Management of GM Crops. Anne Ingeborg Myhr

What Lies Beneath the Surface? A Case Study of Citizens' Moral Reasoning with Regard to Biodiversity. Maria Ojala and Rolf Lidskog


This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values. Reprints of this article can be ordered from ingenta or the British Library

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