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Indigenous Knowledges of forest and biodiversity management: how the watchfulness of Māori complements and contributes to disaster risk reduction

Simon Lambert, Melanie Mark-Shadbolt

2021 Aotearoa New Zealand

The United Nations Sendai Framework 2015-30 for disaster risk reduction (DRR) reaffirms the role of Indigenous Knowledges (IK) as complementing and contributing to more effective DRR. This hard won space for IK comes as Indigenous communities voluntarily contribute to the local management of disasters, including wildfire and threats to biodiversity in forest ecosystems. The effectiveness of Indigenous practices in addressing hazards is based on traditional knowledges and empirical observations that inform active roles in environmental management. However, it is still not clear how IK complements and contributes to DRR. This article analyses interviews with elders, researchers, and community members and identifies how mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) on forests and biodiversity is embodied to inform Indigenous watchfulness as a tactical approach in contributing to more effective DRR strategies.

Māori, Indigenous knowledge, disaster risk reduction, fire, biodiversity, biosecurity