Reclaiming Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Towards Sustainable People-Forest Relationships in Kenya
Conservation has, over the last couple of decades, coalesced around the language of ‘community-engagement’. Models that seemed to prop up conservation areas as those emptied of human presence are cracking under their own weight. This book grounds our understanding of people-forest relationships through the lens of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in the Nyandarwa (Aberdare) forest reserve in Kenya, home to the Agĩkũyũ people. It confronts the history of land dispossession in Kenya, demonstrates that land continues to be a central pillar of Agĩkũyũ indigenous environmental thought, and cements the role of the forest in sustaining the struggle for independence. It also shines a light on seed and food sovereignty as arenas of knowledge mobilization and self-determination. The book concludes by showing how IKS can contribute to forging sustainable people-forest relationships.
Kendi Borona is a conservation professional with over a decade of experience in diverse landscapes across Africa. She is a firm believer in the application of indigenous knowledge in the furtherance of just conservation and community livelihoods. Her scholarship and research are informed by her work with indigenous peoples and communities in several African countries, Australia and Canada. She has published a series of academic papers on community-driven conservation, cultural heritage management, and indigenous knowledge systems and environmental governance. Her research interests include indigenous knowledge-driven environmental governance, forests and associated landscapes as arenas of self-determination struggles in Africa, food and seed sovereignty, and community livelihoods. She holds a PhD from the Faculty of Forestry of the University of British Columbia, Canada.
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