The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration

The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration


Indigenous Peoples and local communities often rely on their local environment to meet their basic needs, and so are affected by global environmental change. They also contribute to ecological restoration through supporting species selection and providing information on the historical state of the ecosystem. However, the authors point out that involving IPLCs does not always lead to improve restoration outcomes. They outline strategies to integrate indigenous and local knowledge into programs to improve restoration outcomes.

Research goals and methods

A literature search was conducted in Web of Science, and 120 articles were selected for a detailed review, out of 413 papers. 


Restoration outcomes are more likely to be ecologically successful when IPLC and their knowledge is integrated at the design stage of projects, when short- and long-term social and ecological benefits are ensured, and when cultural elements such as local traditions or customary institutions are integrated into restoration efforts. On the basis of their review, the authors suggest that IPLC and their knowledge should receive greater attention in global efforts to meet the target to restore 15% of degraded ecosystems across the world, as a part of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Reyes-García V, Fernández-Llamazares Á, McElwee P, et al. The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology. 2019;27(1):3 - 8. doi:10.1111/rec.12894.


  • Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain
  • Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellatera, Barcelona, Spain
  • Global Change and Conservation (GCC), Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A
  • MTA Centre for Ecological Research, GINOP Sustainable Ecosystems Group, 8237, Tihany, Hungary
  • Institute of Biology Bucharest, Romanian Academy, 060031, Bucharest, Romania
  • PARTNERS Reforestation Network, University of Connecticut, Mansfield, CT, U.S.A
  • Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, U.S.A