Including indigenous and local knowledge in climate research: an assessment of the opinion of Spanish climate change researchers

David GarcĂ­a-del-Amo and colleagues have documented that observations of climate change impacts reported by indigenous peoples and local communities coincide with scientific measurements of such impacts. However, insights from indigenous and local knowledge are not yet completely included in international climate change research and policy fora. 
In this article, they compared observations of climate change impacts detected by indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world and collected through a literature review (n = 198 case studies) with climate scientists’ opinions on the relevance of such information for climate change research. Scientists’ opinions were collected through a web survey among climate change researchers from universities and research centres in Spain (n = 191). 

In the survey, the researchers asked about the need to collect local-level data regarding 68 different groups of indicators of climate change impacts to improve the current knowledge and about the feasibility of using indigenous and local knowledge in climate change studies. Results showed consensus on the need to continue collecting local-level data from all groups of indicators to get a better understanding of climate change impacts, particularly on impacts on the biological system. 

However, while scientists of this study considered that indigenous and local knowledge could mostly contribute to detect climate change impacts on the biological and socioeconomic systems, the literature review showed that information on impacts on these systems is rarely collected; researchers instead have mostly documented the impacts on the climatic and physical systems reported by indigenous and local knowledge.

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