In and Out of National Parks: the role of local ecological knowledge in the long-term conservation of biodiverse anthropogenic landscapes in West Africa

Principal researcher: Chloe Chesney

Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography


Decolonising Conservation | Human-Wildlife Interactions | Ontological Anthropology | Western Chimpanzees

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia



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As anthropology turns its focus beyond humans, biodiversity conservation increasingly recognises the necessary incorporation of human dimensions. This must happen with urgency because of the rapid rates of environmental change in the Anthropocene and the ever-increasing pressure on shared resources. Previous research on the connection between local ecological knowledge and the perseverance of wildlife is predominately inside protected areas yet the majority of western chimpanzees, for example, live in unprotected areas suggesting informal protections are playing a continued critical role in biodiverse anthropogenic landscapes. To address this gap, this project looks both inside and outside formally protected areas in Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to identify local ecological knowledge that leads to the intentional or unintentional conservation of wildlife, to explore how this is influenced by changing contexts, and to reflect on how it could be incorporated in formal conservation planning to reduce vulnerabilities for local people and wildlife.


Full members

Amélia Frazão Moreira

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography

Associated researchers

Kimberley Hockings

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography

Full members

Tânia Minhós

Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography