Harnessing indigenous knowledge for sustainable forest management in Ghana

Margaret Sraku-Lartey

Abstract


This paper makes a case for harnessing indigenous knowledge (IK) for sustainable national development in Ghana. IK is the local knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education, natural resource management, and a host of other activities in rural communities. According to the World Bank the basic component of any country‟s knowledge system is its indigenous knowledge. It is upon this knowledge that scientific research builds. In Ghana the Government has recognized the need to harness IK for sustainable national development and has therefore incorporated it into the National Science, Technology and Innovation Development Programme. There is no evidence however that scientific research in Ghana bases its activities on IK. The paper discusses the need to take IK seriously in Ghana and establishes its importance as a foundation for scientific research. It discusses the concept of indigenous knowledge in the forestry sector, its relevance in scientific discourse and the need for harnessing IK for national development. It further goes on to give some examples of IK application in the forestry sector of Ghana and emphasizes its importance in forest management. In harnessing indigenous knowledge, several issues need to be considered. For example who owns the local knowledge, who is responsible for validating it, what factors need to be considered during the validation process and what methods can be used to record, store and retrieve the IK identified.

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