This project collected real world data to test a pathway through which cultural knowledge might enhance human adaptive strategy: the individual returns to culturally evolved and environment-specific knowledge. The project was based on six sets of comparable panel data collected in three foraging societies: the Tsimane' (Amazonia), the Baka (Congo Basin), and the Punan Tubu (Borneo). The project used a culturally-specific but cross-culturally comparative method to assess individual local knowledge related to 1) wild edibles; 2) medicine; 3) agriculture; and 4) weather forecast. The strategy of data analysis estimated the returns to knowledge on a) own and offspring's health, b) nutritional status, and c) farming and foraging productivity.
Key findings from this study are;
- Local environmental knowledge systems are dynamic, a characteristic that guides indigenous peoples’ adaptive strategy.
- Although local environmental knowledge is not evenly distributed among members of a society, the benefits obtained by applying such knowledge are largely shared.
Can development programs shape cooperation? Results from a framed field experiment in Indonesia
(2020). Human Nature, 31 (2): 174-195.
Did foragers enjoy more free time?
(2019). Nature Human Behaviour, 3: 772-773.
Dietary transitions among three contemporary hunter-gatherers across the tropics.
(2019). Food Security, 11 (1): 109-122.
Sing to Learn: The role of songs in the transmission of Indigenous and Local Knowledge
(2019). Journal of Ethnobiology, 39 (3).
The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to restoration ecology
(2019). Restoration Ecology, 27 (1): 3-8.
Children and Ethnobiology
(2018). Journal of Ethnobiology, 38 (2).
Children's diets in three Indigenous societies.
(2018). Journal of ethnobiology, 38 (2).
Does weather forecasting relate to foraging productivity? An empirical test among three hunter-gatherer societies
(2018). Weather, Climate and Society, 10 (1).
The things we share: Sharing in real and experimental settings among Punan hunter-gatherers, Indonesian Borneo.
(2018). Ecological Economics, 152.
'Like father, like son'? Baka children's local ecological knowledge learning in a context of cultural change
(2017). In: Reyes-García, V. and Pyhälä, A. , Hunter-Gatherers in a Changing World. Springer.