Traditional practices and beliefs in landscape management

The roles of informal institutions in landscape approach

Traditional and local beliefs, taboos, norms and knowledge play a critical role in conserving local biodiversity and landscapes, and researchers are now considering whether these might be applied more widely to areas under threat. 

Could informal “institutions” – including belief systems and practices – become more recognized as supports in preserving biodiversity and landscapes on a larger scale?

If so, could these strategies be applied in Indonesia’s biodiversity-rich but threatened Kapuas River watershed in West Kalimantan?

The watershed of Indonesia’s longest river is subject to an integrated management plan designed to protect the river’s essential hydrological functions while preserving forests in the watershed.

However, the plan has not been effectively implemented on the ground, and lacks coordination across local communities, stakeholders and regional governments, according to participants of a workshop on watershed management in Pontianak in 2019.

Indigenous people have been practicing landscape governance using their traditional knowledge and customary rules for generations. 

As knowledge was generated and adapted over time to secure livelihoods, many systems became naturally aligned with the principles of sustainable landscape management and conservation developed by modern science. Indigenous people also have traditional conflict management approaches where customary leaders play the key roles in developing resolution mechanisms.

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This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.
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