Science, traditional ecological knowledge, and anthropology: managing the impacts of mining in Papua New Guinea

MacIntyre, Martha, and Foale, Simon (2013) Science, traditional ecological knowledge, and anthropology: managing the impacts of mining in Papua New Guinea. Collaborative Anthropologies, 6. pp. 399-418.

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[Extract] More than a decade of monitoring the social impacts of mining required numerous collaborative relationships. One instance of this provided a more complicated example of collaborative research as it involved working directly and concurrently with three distinct groups of people, each group not only having different conceptions of the problems at issue but also drawing on a different knowledge base and occasionally on quite distinct epistemologies. We do not want to exaggerate this latter distinction, as we think that has happened too often in studies of “traditional ecological knowledge.” The Papua New Guinean people with whom we have worked are in many ways as empiricist as any Western scientists, and they usually base their knowledge on careful observation. They also test to see if something works and to verify claims made by others. Just one example is evidence—the willingness of Papua New Guineans to plant new crops and adopt new gardening techniques. Bourke (2009) estimates that prior to European settlement, some 170 plant species were cultivated for food (2009: 15). Since about 1870, 90 food crop species and more than 2,200 varieties have been introduced (2009: 18). Bourke’s surveys revealed that the embrace of these new foods was so rapid that in many instances people now believe they are indigenous crops.

Item ID: 31561
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2152-4009
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Lihir Management Company
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2014 23:20
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 30%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140202 Economic Development and Growth @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 40%
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