The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration

Victoria Reyes-García, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Pamela McElwee, Zsolt Molnár, Kinga Öllerer, Sarah J. Wilson, Eduardo S. Brondizio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLC) are affected by global environmental change because they directly rely on their immediate environment for meeting basic livelihood needs. Therefore, safeguarding and restoring ecosystem resilience is critical to support their well-being. Based on examples from the literature, we illustrate how IPLC participate in restoration activities maintaining traditional practices, restoring land degraded by outsiders, and joining outside groups seeking to restore ecosystems. Our review also provides examples of how Indigenous and Local Knowledge can be incorporated in the planning, execution, and monitoring of restoration activities. However, not all restoration initiatives engaging IPLC are beneficial or successful, and the factors that lead to success are not fully known. While local involvement in restoration projects is often mentioned as an element of success, this is primarily associated to projects that actively involve IPLC in codesigning restoration activities affecting their territories, ensure both short-term direct benefits to IPLC and long-term support of the maintenance of restored areas, and recognize IPLC local traditions and customary institutions. Based on these examples, we argue that IPLC should be a more important focus in any post-2020 CBD agenda on restoration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


  • Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK)
  • comanagement
  • cultural keystone species
  • ecosystem services
  • traditional management


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