Research Topic

Understanding Changing Human-Wildlife Relations in Indigenous and Local Societies

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About this Research Topic

Ample research has shown that traditional Indigenous and locally managed territories have been equally, or more, effective at conserving carbon stocks and wildlife than government-protected land. In these nature-culture landscapes, diverse Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLCs) have developed ...

Ample research has shown that traditional Indigenous and locally managed territories have been equally, or more, effective at conserving carbon stocks and wildlife than government-protected land. In these nature-culture landscapes, diverse Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLCs) have developed cultural and place-based systems of understanding, explaining, and sustainably managing a range of human-wildlife interactions. These human-wildlife relations have however not remained unchanged, evolving continually in response to an ever-changing physical and socio-political environment. For example, in recent decades, rapidly developing economies, formal conservation efforts and climate change have played a crucial role in threatening and restructuring such relations.

This Research Topic invites rigorous contributions to further our understanding of the historical and changing nature of human-wildlife relations amongst Indigenous and local communities ('under-studied' communities, in particular) within the broader context of wildlife conservation and the ongoing ecological crisis. Contributions may be entirely discursive and qualitative, or employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative frameworks, methods and data, and may emerge from a range and combination of disciplines including, but not limited to, anthropology, psychology and animal geography.

This Research Topic welcomes:
- Ethnographic/mixed-methods research to explore local/cultural meanings of wild animals and human interactions/relations with them in IPLCs, including how complex relations with wildlife are managed; how lived experience, everyday interactions, personal histories, memories, worldviews, beliefs, values and norms, inform understandings of and interactions with wild animals; what are local visions of sharing sustainable reciprocal relations with wild animals?
- Research to understand tolerance, or intolerance, of local people towards particular wildlife species, and its spatio-temporal trends with changing socio-political and economic factors.
- Comparative accounts across Indigenous and local societies that share space with similar wildlife species, e.g. cross comparative studies of human-tiger or, human-saltwater crocodile relations.
- Longitudinal or comparative research charting changes in relations between people and wildlife in response to changing natural, physical, geopolitical (colonial and neo-colonial structures), social and economic conditions in IPLCs.

A significant issue in research, and knowledge production, more broadly, is unequal power relations between researchers/scientists, and IPLCs whose lives and cultural practices become the subject of research. Data are often analysed, and research outputs written, published and owned without the involvement and knowledge of local people. This Research Topic aims to explicitly address this persistent issue by inviting submissions from (a) scholars from Indigenous, local and under-represented backgrounds whose research is based on experiences of their native communities; and (b) non-local scholars whose research is co-produced and co-authored with members of those IPLCs whose cultures and life experiences form the basis of their submission.

Co-production and co-authoring may both take on many forms. From local collaboration in all research phases, to local involvement in specific stages such as data collection, analysis, writing, and feedback for the former, to creative ways of sharing authorship with field assistants, host families, members of the local communities, etc. for the latter. We welcome all such forms of co-production and co-authorship, as long as authors detail their specific processes, transparently, either within the manuscript or as supplementary material. We understand the myriad challenges that non-local authors may face while attempting to co-produce knowledge and co-author research outputs, including pressures from local gatekeepers, elites, cross-cultural, language and institutional barriers. We encourage authors to engage reflexively with their process and incorporate any challenges faced analytically and discursively into their contributions. We greatly welcome newer, more ethical forms for knowledge co-production and co-ownership.

Please Note:
• Abstracts are not compulsory and failing to submit an abstract will not prevent a full manuscript submission. However, they enable the Guest Editors to perform a preliminary assessment and are therefore highly encouraged.
• Guest Editors will evaluate each abstract and provide feedback to the authors, including recommendation to transfer to a different Research Topic or journal section based on the relevance of the content.
• While submissions of abstracts are encouraged before the deadline, abstracts will be considered for evaluation also after it (the submission link will remain active).
• Abstracts have a maximum word count of 1000.
• Authors can find the full list of article types accepted for this collection here.

NOTE ON FEES : Frontiers is committed to help researchers overcome any financial barriers to publication. In cases where authors do not have the means to pay the full APCs, they can apply for fee support. On submission of your manuscript, please submit a request for fee support (included in your Call for Participation or at this link).


Keywords: Human-wildlife relations, Indigenous and local people, Community-based conservation, Knowledge co-production


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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