Participatory Geographic Information Systems as an Organizational Platform for the Integration of Traditional and Scientific Knowledge in Contemporary Fire and Fuels Management

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Traditional knowledge about fire and its effects held by indigenous people, who are connected to specific landscapes, holds promise for informing contemporary fire and fuels management strategies and augmenting knowledge and information derived from western science. In practice, however, inadequate means to organize and communicate this traditional knowledge with scientists and managers can limit its consideration in decisions, requiring novel approaches to interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication and collaboration. We propose that Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) is one platform for the assemblage and communication of traditional knowledge vital to fire and fuels management, while preserving linkages to broader cultural contexts. We provide summaries of four preliminary case studies in the Intermountain West of North America to illustrate different potential applications of a PGIS tool in this context and describe some remaining challenges.

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