The Role of Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Perspectives in Biodiversity Conservation
Peter Tshisikhawe – University of Venda
The role of indigenous knowledge systems in the management of natural resources existed since time immemorial amongst indigenous African communities. The Vhavenda indigenous communities of Limpopo in South Africa have also maintained these cultural practices. They have used their indigenous knowledge systems to manage resources deemed dear to them. These indigenous knowledge systems used in the management of natural resources among the Vhavenda were administered and regulated by traditional leaders and other knowledge holders. A number of mechanisms were used in the monitoring and management of natural resources. This review looks at the practices used in the management of the critically endangered Brackenridgea zanguebarica, a tree species that only occurs in Thengwe region of Limpopo. It also looks at the dynamics of population structure studies conducted over the years. The species has been utilised and managed through indigenous knowledge systems which included taboos, secrecy, and traditional leadership governance over the years. Government and scientific bodies have also played their role in monitoring the utilisation of natural resources from this important species. Population studies conducted on the species over the years through quadrat sampling methods have revealed that unsustainable harvesting is having a negative impact on population viability. This review recommends that more still needs to be done in order to achieve maximum protection and management of B. zanguebarica.