Cover Image
close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
close this folderPart 5 - Question guides
View the documentQuestion guides
View the documentGender and indigenous knowledge
View the documentFarmer-to-farmer extension and farmer experimentation
View the documentSoil fertility
View the documentCropping systems
View the documentGardening
View the documentAgroforestry
View the documentWatershed management
View the documentEnvironment, natural resources. and biodiversity
View the documentCoastal resource s management
View the documentAquaculture
View the documentAnimal husbandry and healthcare
View the documentFood and nutrition
View the documentReproductive health and family planning
View the documentWater and sanitation
View the documentHealth financing schemes
View the documentHealthcare systems
View the documentOccupational health
View the documentOrganizations and leadership
View the documentCredit and savings
View the documentEnterprise development
View the documentCommunication

Environment, natural resources. and biodiversity


This is not a questionnaire! Adapt, reword, and combine questions and top co to suit your objectives


How do local people classify the different features of their environment? how do they differentiate one area from another (e.g. forests , grassland , etc.)? What i the basis for this
classification? What are the physical indicators (e.g., elevation, soil type, water availability, climatic condition=) found in each area? How do people differentiate areas within these major groups (e.g., different types of forests, etc.)?

What are the main plants and animals in each area? Are there any indicator species (i.e., a species that is specifically associated with a particular area)?

What are the local beliefs concerning the environment? local definitions?

What else do people know about their environment, climate, etc.?

Can they predict changes in the weather?


What animal and plant species do people know and differentiate?
How are these classified?

Where is each species found? What are the characteristics of the area where it lives? What is the role or importance of the species in the area where it is found? What are the factors that affect the distribution of each species? How are the different species interrelated? What do people know of the life cycles of plants and animals?

What species of plants and animals are used or a regular basis? only occasionaily? For what purposes (e.g., for food, medicine, clothing)? In what ways are they valuable (cultural, environmental, economic)?

Which species are domesticated and which are wild? How are they cultivated or raised (if domesticated) or collected (if wild)? What are the growth requirements for the different species (e.g., light, humidity, altitude, soil, etc.)?

How are they processed? How are they consumed or used (food, clothing, medicine, economic reasons)?

Do any species have a cultural value (religious value, mythical connotation, etc.)?

Which species are detrimental to the community (e.g., mosquitoes, rats, poisonous plants, etc.)?


How do people interact with their environment (e.g., agriculture, hunting, collecting, etc.)? Are there any mechanisms to control or regulate this interaction (e.g., beliefs, taboos, community rules, etc.)?

Are people aware of changes in their environment or differences between different areas? How would they describe these changes and differences? Do they see change as a continuum or do they differentiate specific stages?

Are plant and animal populations increasing or decreasing? If so. are overall numbers changing? Or are particular species disappearing or increasing in number? If so, which ones? How fast? How do people know whether the numbers of a species are changing?

What are the causes for such changes (over exploitation, disease, habitat degradation and destruction, displacement by non-native species, etc.)?

What do people perceive as the main threats to their environment (e.g., conversion, pollution, exotics? Do these differ for different areas?

What do people do if they notice changes in their environment;? What. measures do they take to safeguards or conserve species? the environment? What factors have led to the breakdown of the traditional management systems, if any?

Some ideas and examples how information on environment, natural resources and biodiversity could be documented

Make fables summarizing people's information about species and ecosystems
Make transect.
Produce a resource map.
Make a historical comparison to gauge change.

Compiled by Gregory C. Ira