Indigenous knowledge on climate change adaptation: a global evidence map of academic literature

Petzold, J., Andrews, N., Ford, J.D., Hedemann, C. and Postigo, J.C. 2020. Indigenous knowledge on climate change adaptation: a global evidence map of academic literature. Environmental Research Letters, 15(11), article online.

There is emerging evidence of the important role of indigenous knowledge for climate change adaptation. The necessity to consider different knowledge systems in climate change research has been established in the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, gaps in author expertise and inconsistent assessment by the IPCC lead to a regionally heterogeneous and thematically generic coverage of the topic. We conducted a scoping review of peer-reviewed academic literature to support better integration of the existing and emerging research on indigenous knowledge in IPCC assessments. The research question underpinning this scoping review is: How is evidence of indigenous knowledge on climate change adaptation geographically and thematically distributed in the peer-reviewed academic literature? As the first systematic global evidence map of indigenous knowledge in the climate adaptation literature, the study provides an overview of the evidence of indigenous knowledge for adaptation across regions and categorises relevant concepts related to indigenous knowledge and their contexts in the climate change literature across disciplines. The results show knowledge clusters around tropical rural areas, subtropics, drylands, and adaptation through planning and practice and behavioural measures. Knowledge gaps include research in northern and central Africa, northern Asia, South America, Australia, urban areas, and adaptation through capacity building, as well as institutional and psychological adaptation. This review supports the assessment of indigenous knowledge in the IPCC AR6 and also provides a basis for follow-up research, e.g. bibliometric analysis, primary research of underrepresented regions, and review of grey literature.

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