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The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Biodiversity Conservation: Implications for Conservation Education in Papua New Guinea

The research reported in this thesis focussed on exploring existing indigenous environmental knowledge of two indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea and how this knowledge was acquired, interpreted and disseminated to the next generation. The relevance of indigenous environmental knowledge in the promotion of biodiversity conservation efforts was investigated. This research was conducted within an interpretive paradigm. A naturalistic/ethnographic methodology was used. Data was collected through semi structured interviews and observations. Participants in this case study were representatives of the community and included elders, adults, teachers and students. The findings in this study revealed indigenous environmental knowledge as useful for biodiversity conservation and promotes sustainable practices. It showed that indigenous family knowledge is essential for claiming land inheritance and indigenous environmental practices are consistent with sustainable practices and land use. Forest knowledge is found to be useful in identifying and locating resources and that sustainable practices ensured continuity of these resources. The study also identified spiritual knowledge and beliefs as fundamental for developing indigenous worldviews and environmental attitudes and values and that change in resource use may be both beneficial and harmful to biodiversity. The findings also revealed indigenous education as flexible, holistic and informal in nature and uses mostly oral history through verbal instruction and various non-verbal means. They showed that IE uses a variety of teaching and learning approaches that utilise the environment as a tool and that learning venues provide a realistic learning experience. The thesis concludes that IEK promotes biodiversity conservation in many ways and that indigenous education uses situated context to promote realistic learning. Indigenous environmental knowledge and education could therefore be used in biodiversity conservation education.
Type of thesis
Tiu, S. A. (2007). The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Biodiversity Conservation: Implications for Conservation Education in Papua New Guinea (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2308
The University of Waikato
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