Skip to main content
Ethnoecology (ETHN)
Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status
Course Description

Increasing pressures are being placed on biological resources by demand from indigenous communities relying on them for their livelihoods.  At the same time, increasing emphasis is being placed on involving local communities in the management and sustainable use of their natural resource.  It is therefore important for young professionals working in the field of environmental management and policy to have knowledge and skills relating to the interactions between indigenous people and local natural resources.  The aim of this course is thus to introduce students to core theoretical topics and research methods in the discipline of ethnoecology.  The course is interdisciplinary, covering topics in both the biological and social sciences.  The focus is on the use of indigenous natural resources for local livelihoods and cultural purposes, and how this relates to sustainability and local resource management.  Extensive use is made of examples from southern African, Central Asia and the Middle East, and students are encouraged to contribute perspectives from their own experiences and cultural backgrounds.  

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand how culture and worldview shape human-nature mental models and relationships
2. Understand the characteristics of indigenous knowledge
3. Understand the scope and challenges for integrating indigenous and scientific knowledge for environmental management
4. Understand the contribution and range of uses of non-timber forest products (NTFP) by indigenous people.
5. Understand types of indigenous management systems for resources and landscapes.
6. Understand the components of the Sustainable Livelihoods framework.
7. Evaluate and integrate information needed to assess the sustainability of an indigenous resource use system.


The course is Pass/Fail and will be based on class atendance and participation.

Readings and videos are all compulsory.


This course is open to all students but is a prerequisite for all MESPOM students who plan to undertake their internships at AUCA (Kyrgyzstan), Wits University (South Africa), or AUB (Lebanon) in summer 2024.

Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code
ENVS 5183