Traditional knowledge, forest management, and certification: a reality check

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Evaluations of initial attempts at NTFP certification reveal substantial ecological, socioeconomic and administrative obstacles for forest product collectors. However, the problem of lack of sufficient scientific understanding of the ecology of NTFP species can sometimes be addressed by recognition and documentation of traditional ecological knowledge (???). Increasing local input regarding NTFP resource inventories, production/yield, development of criteria and indicators, and monitoring sustainable management can offer valuable contributions to the certification process. Besides benefiting efforts at certification, such attention can foster needed appreciation and local documentation of traditional ecological knowledge. Cases from Namibia, the Philippines and Brazil are used to demonstrate how local initiatives in sustainable resource management strengthened communities understanding of their resource base. The process of sharing ecological knowledge locally can catalyze broader objectives of community empowerment and sustainable management—with or without a seal.

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