Indigenous knowledge and conservation management: challenges and opportunities

Effective conservation management must be informed by robust information on the status of species and their habitats of concern. In relation to human interactions, this is generally derived from research-led scientific studies. Increasingly, however, it is recognised that indigenous communities around the world possess an extremely rich body of knowledge about local environmental resources and biodiversity, developed through interactions with the non-human environment around them. Indigenous knowledge has the potential to be an invaluable tool to aid conservation around the world – helping to monitor key components of biodiversity, support sustainable use of environmental resources and enforce conservation management through indigenous value systems. Although there is huge scope to integrate indigenous knowledge into conservation management, non-scientific knowledge systems are becoming progressively eroded worldwide and the information cannot always be easily interpreted, creating barriers for use in many social-ecological conservation systems. What are the challenges, limitations, and future scope for building this unique body of knowledge into biodiversity conservation?

Download Agenda & Abstracts PDF icon here (270.86 KB)



  • Paul Barnes, University College London & Zoological Society of London: "Working with the experts: Changing relationships between people and nature, and the implications for conservation in the Cyclops Mountains, Papua"
  • Chantal Elkin, Alliance of Religions and Conservation: "The role of religion in conservation"
  • Dr Lisa Ingwall-King, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre: "Importance of integrating Indigenous knowledge for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity: a case study from Guyana"
  • Professor Jay Mistry, Royal Holloway University of London and Co-Director, Cobra Collective CIC: "Viewing conservation through a different lens: working with Indigenous knowledge through participatory video"

Chaired by Dr Raj Puri, Centre for Biocultural Diversity, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent. 

Organised by Dr Samuel Turvey & Lizzie Jones, Zoological Society of London.

To find out more about the topic of this event, read a blog post written by Lizzie here.


ZSL Library events

The ZSL Library will be open to ZSL Fellows before the event and will offer a talk at 4.45pm on 'Art works and Archives', which involves an introduction to their 'special collections'. Please contact or click here for further information.


Attending this event

  • This Science and Conservation Event is free to attend and booking is not required. 
  • Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre, Main Meeting Rooms, ZSL London Zoo. See map
  • Underground – Camden Town Station; Nearest bus - no. 274 
  • Doors open at 5.00pm for a 6.00pm start.
  • Seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • A drinks reception for ZSL Fellows and their guests is held from 5.00pm - 5.50pm.  More information on ZSL Fellowship can be found here.



ZSL Wild Science Podcast

We will be creating a podcast relating to this event topic, so be sure to keep an ear out for it in the following months! Listen to more of our award winning ZSL Wild Science podcast episodes hosted by Research Fellow Dr Monni Bohm here.


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