Factors influencing local ecological knowledge maintenance in Mediterranean watersheds: Insights for environmental policies

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Irene Iniesta-Arandia
  • David García del Amo
  • Ana Paula García-Nieto
  • Concepción Piñeiro
  • Carlos Montes
  • Berta Martín-López

Local ecological knowledge (LEK) has been found to be one of the main bridges to manage biocultural diversity. We analyzed the factors affecting LEK maintenance and transmission in a Mediterranean watershed. We used a mixed methods approach to evaluate the agricultural LEK in three different dimensions: biological, soil and water management, and forecasting. We found that the main factors for its maintenance were the respondent's time living in the area and the social relationships established among farmers, which involved partner collaboration and farmer information exchanges. Protected areas also played a key role for maintaining the LEK associated with soil and water management. Finally, we found that outmigration and mechanization were the most important indirect drivers of change underlying LEK erosion. We suggest that environmental policies should focus on promoting this experiential knowledge, considering both intergenerational renewal and the gendered aspects of this knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmbio : a Journal of the human environment
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 05.2015
Externally publishedYes