Traditional knowledge has become a topic of considerable interest within the research and development environment. The contribution of traditional knowledge to conservation and management is increasingly recognized, and implementation endeavours are underway in several countries. The current scale of ecosystem degradation underscores the need for restoration interventions. It is increasingly recognized that successful ecological restoration depends on effective coordination of science and traditional ecological knowledge. This paper synthesizes the literature to evaluate the present and potential contribution of traditional knowledge to ecological restoration. Despite a growing number of articles published on traditional knowledge, only a few have addressed its contributions to ecological restoration per se. The main contributions of traditional knowledge to ecological restoration are in construction of reference ecosystems, particularly when historical information is not available; species selection for restoration plantations; site selection for restoration; knowledge about historical land management practices; management of invasive species; and post-restoration monitoring. Traditional knowledge and science are complementary and should be used in conjunction in ecological restoration projects. Incorporation of traditional knowledge can contribute to build a strong partnership for the successful implementation of restoration projects and increase their social acceptability, economical feasibility, and ecological viability.
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Vol. 19 • No. 3