, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 218–230 | Cite as

Storing and sharing: A review of indigenous and local knowledge conservation initiatives

  • Petra BenyeiEmail author
  • Guadalupe Arreola
  • Victoria Reyes-García
Research Article


Despite its relative adaptive capacity and its many values, indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) is rapidly eroding. Over the past decades a myriad of efforts have emerged to prevent this erosion. In this work, we reviewed and systematically coded 138 ILK conservation initiatives published in academic papers in order to explore trends in participation, digitalization, timing, location, and approach of the initiatives. We also explored factors influencing initiative inclusiveness. Our findings reveal that ILK holders are generally absent from most phases of the studied initiatives, although IT-based and in situ initiatives (i.e., education and community based conservation) appear as the exceptions. We also found that ex situ initiatives (i.e., research/documentation and policy/legislation efforts) are predominant, despite the challenges they reportedly face. These findings call for re-formulating the ways in which ex situ ILK conservation is done and for supporting in situ and IT based initiatives, as they offer the potential to lead the participatory turn.


Inclusiveness Indigenous and local knowledge Knowledge conservation Systematic review 



We would like to thank S. Villamayor-Tomás for methodological advice regarding systematic reviewing and qualitative meta-analysis and B. Peco for statistical support. Research leading to this article received funding through the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, both through the project CSO2014-59704-P and through P. Benyei’s pre-doctoral grant (BES-2015-072155). This work contributes to the “María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” (MdM-2015-0552).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 371 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia AmbientalsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellateraSpain
  2. 2.Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad MoreliaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico

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