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The Role of Indigenous Way of Natural Resource Conservation and

Its challenges: Experience of Africa Communities


By

Yoseph Maru (PhD candidate)


Researcher and PhD candidate in Department of Natural Resource Management, Dilla
University, Dilla, Ethiopia

Sacred songo place in Gedeo community,


Ethiopia

Advisor: Getachew Mulugeta (PhD)


Abstract
Title: The Role of Traditional Belief Systems and Indigenous Practices in Natural Resource Conservation
and Its challenges: Experience of Africa communities (Ethiopia)
This review of paper is mainly focuses on the traditional belief systems and indigenous practices and its
interplay with natural resource conservation and management.
The main objective of the review paper is to evaluate the association and the role of traditional beliefs and
indigenous practices of Africa community in natural resource conservation and to identify the role of taboo
in recovery of degraded ecosystem.
The results of this review paper evident that traditional belief systems and indigenous practices are highly
associated with natural resource conservation and management within Africa communities. Many African
communities (indigenous people) have spiritual, religious and cultural attachment with wildlife (plants and
animals). Certain plant and animal species were revered or set aside for cultural purposes; in some cases
these may not be touched, destroyed or killed by communities. Taboos and ancestral sprit can restrict the
access to venerated plants and animals. In this review, the indigenous way of NRC illustrated by presence of
sacred groves, sacred trees and belief in totemic animals such as Leopard, elephant, lion, monkey, and
buffalo and birds (falcon, raven, and parrot), Turtles, crocodiles, snakes (python), scorpions and crabs were
mainly totemic animals that regarded as symbol of communities in Africa. These animals have not been
killed or hunted by communities for spiritual purpose. An attempt to kill these animals attracted serious
misfortunes like drought, pests and human or livestock diseases. Thus, animals and plants due to taboos live
long and free from poaching and disturbances due to the fear of calamities and misfortune situation.
Moreover, the review results confirmed that traditional beliefs link with natural resource is most illustrated
graphically by the presence of sacred natural sites such as forest, groves, trees and hills in the landscapes of
faith communities. In sum, traditional ecological knowledge and practices have been confronted with
different driving factors. Religious monotheism, westernization, high economic demand, change in social
mores among the youth and lack of proper documentation of indigenous practices were main eroding factors
of traditional knowledge and indigenous practices in Africa.
Keywords: Traditional belief system, Indigenous knowledge, natural resource conservation, Biodiversity
and taboo

1. Introduction
Africa is a continent that is endowed with an abundance of natural resources, which provide a
potential springboard for economic development in the region (Appiah Opoku, 2006).
Unfortunately, the very fast rate of deforestation, land degradation, poaching, killing and hunting
of rare plants and animals in continent has brought significant decline in biodiversity and make
them in extent of some species are on the verge of local extinction (IUCN, 2007). Habitat loss
and over-exploitation of wildlife species are universally acknowledged as the leading causes of
biodiversity loss. These two major causes are more prominent in developing countries
particularly in Africa (Brooks et al. 2002).
Thus, unwise exploitation of natural resources has led to serious environmental degradation in
the form of drought, desertification, soil erosion, food insecurity and climate change (Ngara,
2013). However, indigenous African communities have their own incredible knowledge systems
and practices that help them to halt environmental challenges and unsustainable utilization of via
cultural taboos wildlife (IUCN, 2007).
For thousands of years African societies have used traditional knowledge of local environments
to sustain themselves and to maintain their cultural identity. For indigenous Africa communities,
the natural resources were not only important as a source of food and other domestic products,
but it also the very basis of their religion and cultural beliefs, therefore, certain areas i.e.
woodlands, water points, mountains, hills, forests, trees and animal etc. were considered sacred
and were not to be abused and destroyed for spiritual purpose via taboos (Paula, 2004). In
traditional protected areas, local people refrain from cutting down trees, killing animals,
harvesting useful plants within such sites, or even entering or passing nearby, believing that the
spirits or deities would be offended and bring harm to the persons, families, or even whole
villages if the sites are disturbed. It is therefore conceivable that these traditions should be
included in modern conservation and management strategies to avert degrading factors of
biodiversity and other ecosystem (Ngara, 2013). In sum, the main objective of this review paper
is to assess the role of traditional beliefs and indigenous practices in natural resource
conservation and also review out the challenging impediments of its practices in local level of
Africa communities.

Result and Discussion


2. Indigenous Knowledge Practices and Natural Resource Management
2.1 Indigenous Knowledge of Traditional Medicine
Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating,
spiritual therapies and combination to diagnose treat and prevent illnesses of the human and
animals (Encyclopedia, 2013). Many indigenous people have extensive knowledge in
management or identification of plant species used for traditional medicine (Mathiui and
Kariuki, 2007). Currently, over 80% of the worlds population depends on indigenous
healthcare based on medicinal plants. Indigenous people employ at least 20,000 plant species
for medicines and related purposes (Melchias, 2001).
Herbal medicines have been used for many years dating back as far as 3000 BC. In Africa, 90%
of the population relies on traditional healers to meet their primary healthcare needs (Miller,
1990). For example, The World Bank report further pointed out that Kenya ministry of Health
budget for medicines in 2002 provided for only 30% of the population. This left 70% (21
million) of the population who could not access the conventional drugs. The latter population
group was therefore left to rely on traditional medicines for their healthcare needs (World Bank,
2002).
Table 1: Traditional medicines identified by indigenous people of Africa
Country and References Number of Species

Ethiopia
600 (just over 10% of Ethiopias vascular flora)
Russo 2000

Ghana
2,000 forest plants
Russo 2001

Guinea
1,200+ plant species and its parts
Guinea 2002

Nigeria
92 species of flora
Mulenkei 1998

Rwanda
Nearly all native plants have some use
Rwanda 1998

Tanzania Over 11,000 species of flora


Pergola 2003:

Tsumkwe District in Namibias Otjozondjupa region


More than 80 plant species
Russo 2001
Indigenous people in Africa are well known for traditional medicine and the use of herbal
remedies in treatment of diseases; and the locations of medicinal plants, the proper times for
collection, the most useful parts, and the methods for preparing and storing medicines (Russo,
200). For example, in Ghana, Ebony (Diopgros mespiliformia trees used for different disease treatment.
The bark of this tree is used for the treatment of diarrhea and toothache. It is also used by actuate
mothers to purify their breast milk. The other tree is Yaa, the sap of this tree is used for the
treatment of rheumatism and it also strengthens and activates the strings of a violin. The bark of
the tree is used to bath women immediately after delivery to prevent infections (Aniah, 2014).
Likewise, in the Ubangi area in the DR Congo, gnetum is used to treat nausea and is considered
to be an antidote to some forms of poison and to avert the unusual pain (Eyong, 2007). The
medicinal properties of many such plants have been scientifically proven in recent years. For
example, Hagenia abyssinica and Glinus lotoides for the treatment of tapeworm, and Phytolacca
dodecandra as a molluscicide in the control of schistosomiasis are plants from Ethiopia which
have been proven as effective and safe (Russo 2000).
Table 2: The use of plant species among indigenous communities
Local name English name Botanical name Uses
A-rika Black Berries Vitex micronata -fruits are eaten ripe
-seeds are used for the
treatment of ring
worm
-it is used as an
antidote for scorpion
and snake bites
Gia Ebony Diopgros -the bark is used for the
Mespiliformia treatment of diarrhoea and
toothache
-the bark is used to purify
mother breast milk
Yaa - - -the bark is used to bath
women immediately after
giving birth to prevent
infections
- the sap is used for the
treatment of rheumatism
Vogtantima - - Treatment of cold,
dizziness
Philip Aniah et al, 2014
2.2 Traditional knowledge of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture
People in many rural communities have expert knowledge of the properties and ecology of local
plants, and rely on them for much, sometimes all, of their food, medicine, fuel, and building
material needs, as well as for other products (UNESCO, 2003). Many traditional peoples collect
wild plants to supplement the plants that they cultivate. This is often necessary during the
seasonal food shortages that are a part of rural life in many parts of Africa. For example, the
pastoral Fulani of northern Nigeria collect various types of edible plant species during the dry
and rainy seasons (Mohamed Salih 1992). In Ghana also hundreds of edible plant species are
consumed as supplement to staple foods and during seasonal food shortages. They also use
numerous plants as sources of drinking water, notably the tubers Raphionacme burkei and
Coccinea rehmanni (FAO 1990).
FAO have documented the utilization of 62 edible wild fruit species by indigenous communities
in Africa, 100 species used for their leaves and 19 species used for their roots. Wild-food
consumption is still very common in rural areas of Ethiopia, particularly with children. Among
the most common wild plant fruits consumed by children are, for example, fruits from Ficus spp,
Carissa edulis and Rosa abyssinica plant species (Guinand, 2001). Konso people in Ethiopia, for
example, still have and use a well-developed knowledge concerning which wild-food plants can
best provide a dietary supplement in periods of food shortage. Amorphophallus gallaensis and
Arisaema species are considered typical famine-food plants in Konso (Guinand, 2001).
3. Traditional belief Systems (Taboos) and Natural Resource Management in Africa
The major tenet of African traditional religion and mores lies in the belief that the abode of the
gods and goddesses is located on rock, streams, pond, tress, land or anywhere they so desire to
live within the community. The belief system is that the gods protect the community members
from harm, famine, bareness, impotence, drought, epidemics and war among others (Shastri et
al., 2002).
The taboos and beliefs have legal backing in the rules and institutions of the communities which
are strong enough to make people obey the religious and cultural regulations (Venkataraman,
2000; Cox, 2000). Many African people and communities have spiritual, religious and cultural
associations with wildlife and natural resources. Certain plant and animal species are revered; in
some cases these may not be touched, destroyed or eaten by faith communities (Souter, 2003).
Thus, the vast majority traditional belief systems in Africa have a close and intimate link with the
natural world and culture of the indigenous communities. The traditional belief system and its
link with natural resource management and conservation is illustrated most graphically by the
presence of sacred natural site such as forest, groves, totem animals, taboo restriction and sacred
trees in the landscapes of faith communities in many parts of Africa (Souter, 2003).
3.1 Sacred hills (landscapes)
In most African communities, the ancestral spirits are believed to be living in the forests and
special trees, caves and ruined homes and water bodies (Wilson, 1989). Such landscape elements
are therefore normally treated with veneration to ensure limited human access into them lest the
spirits be offended and driven away homeless. In this regard, it is taboo to cut down trees
found in a sacred place without the sanction of the local chief priest (Wilson, 1989). For instance,
The Shangwes hill is a local symbol which they owe great honour since it is symbolic to the
spiritual home. It is against cultural practices and beliefs that their indigenous knowledge
systems guide them to think that they should not cut down trees from any sacred hill in their
community (Ngara, 2013).
The Rwenzori Mountains in East Africa provide an example of a spiritual landscape; their
glaciers, high peaks and moorlands are recognized as the home of the gods of the Bakonjo
people. Likewise, the Bongo people in North east Ghana also have something they hold sacred
for traditional beliefs purposes such as ponds, trees, rocks, rivers and many more. These places
are revered as holy or sacred because they are the places of abode or homes of the gods and
ancestral spirits (Githitho, 2003). For instance, Matobo holy Hills in Zimbabwe, which are of
spiritual significance to the Ndebele and Shona people. Important traditional ceremonies are
conducted at shrines in these hills; for example, during severe drought rainmaking ceremonies
are often performed at the Njelele shrine. It is believed that the ancestral spirits of the people live
among the hills (Manwa, 2007).
3.2 Sacred trees
Trees are significant in many of the world's mythologies and religions, and have been given deep
and sacred meanings throughout the ages (Souter, 2003). The term sacred trees implies those
tree species attached with culture of society and in some way holy, venerated or consecrated and
so connected with religion belief systems that set aside for a spiritual purpose (IUCN, 2010). The
cutting down venerated trees considered as taboo and believed to be ancestral sprits could punish
and the calamities could happen (Manwa, 2007). For example, Shangwe communities in Nigeria
performed rainmaking music and dance under the indigenous trees such as Mibvumira,
Michakata and Misasa. Hence, these served as rain spirits shrines. Shangwe stressed that these
trees were homes to their rain spirits and it will not rain if they are cut down (Ngara, 2013).
Trees also linked with birth and death. In many African cultures trees feature in myths and lore.
Forest tree are serving as link between the sky and earth and is associated with creation as well
as the underworld. For example, Oubangui communities of Central Africa, plant a tree for every
new born child. For female children a fast growing tree species is planted. The child
development is linked to the tree growth. If the tree growth declines there is fear for the health
of the child and a healer is called upon. When the child is sick she is brought to the tree for ritual
treatment. When the tree starts to fruit, the time would have come for the child to marry (UNFF,
2008).
On the other hand, Gedeo community in Ethiopia Songo trees such as Garibe, Mokenissa,
Wodessa, Badessa, Birbrissa, udessa and Odeee are regarded as sacred and venerated by
community (Table 3). These tree species are free from human disturbance or cut down due to the
sacredness or taboos. Hence, no axe or machete may laid down to any songo trees, no branch
broken, no firewood gathered even deadwoods and the wildlife like birds and other animal which
have taken refuge there may not be molested or destroyed. The adoption of tree names is also
widespread among the Gedeo community. Bribirissa (Podocarpus falcatus), Mokonna (Croton
macrostachyus), weddo (C. Africana) and udessa were tree species that given for their after child
born (Yoseph, 2014).

Table 3: Venerated Songo Tree species in Gedeo community

Tree species
Scientific name Local name Taboos Its sacredness\belief
Croton macrostachyus Mokenissa no branch broken It is considered as cultural
identity and people meet under
their shades
C. Africana Wodessa No firewood Fear of calamities or disastrous
gathered situation to be happen
Syzygium guineense Badessa No branches of trees Fear of calamities or disastrous
broken and chopped situation to be happen
Ficusvasta Qilixxa Venue for local Fear invitation of curse or swear
elders of ancestral sprits
Podocarpus falcatus Birbrissa No branches of trees Fear of calamities, due to the its
broken or used as sacredness
biomass
Ficus sp Odeee Never chopped by Venue for local elders
ax or machete
Konso community is also known for their ritual practices. Different species of tree have been
grown in Konso landscape however, Juniperus procera tree species has a high significance
values in Konsos for rituals as well as belief system. This tree species regarded as sacred
because the Waka and generation poles are prepared from this Juniperus trees. Waka is most of
the burial grounds for respected members of the community who have performed heroic did are
located near the gates visible to all, so as to inspire the generation (UNESCO, 2015).
3.3 Sacred groves (forests)
Sacred groves are areas of relatively undisturbed forest with often large and very old trees
(IUCN, 2010). It is also pieces of land set aside for spiritual purposes. It includes Traditional
Protected Areas such as water points, burial sites and sacred hills where shrines may be located
near homes or far in the fields. In this place trees, plants and animals are allowed to grow
undisturbed and where reptiles, birds, fish and animals could have free living without fear of
poaching or interference by man (Aniah, 2014).
Sacred groves are mainly protected by taboos. Taboos play an important role in the institution of
sacred groves because of the belief that such groves are the abodes of the gods and ancestors.
Taboos associated with the gods and ancestors prohibit people from exploiting these groves. For
instance, the Osudum sacred grove located at Aburi-Akuapem in Ghana is believed to house the
river goddess Osudum Ama. This grove is said to have a pond with a lot of alligators. It is
believed that these alligators are the children of the goddess, and is a taboo for any of the
alligators to move out of the grove, as this is said to bring bad omen to the entire community
(Lumor, 2009).
The ecological significance of the Osudum sacred grove is noted in the fact that it provides a
habitation for important endangered trees, crocodiles, pythons, butterflies, bees and different
species of birds (Awuah-Nyamekye 2009). The groves are also often the site of ritual healings
and location where villagers find particular plant medicine within Africa communities. It is
equally taboo to hunt or poach animals within or running into a sacred forest because they belong
to the ancestral spirits (UNFF, 2008). The sacred groves harbour economically and socially
important ecological species in landscapes of faith communities (Appiah Opoku, 2006).
3.4 Belief in Totemic animals
Many African societies consider specific species to be of religious and spiritual significance.
These species play a symbolic role in respective clans and tribes. In the totem system, a
relationship exists between the group and certain animals or plants, which are regarded as
totems, and members of the group do not eat, kill, or trap these animals. Amongst traditional
communities such as the Ndebele, where totemic is practiced, it is taboo for clan members to kill
animals which serve as the revered symbol of their families (Hyland and Ikumenne, 2005). For
example, in Ghana as follows: almost every traditional ruler, Chief, or King, members of a clan
or tribe and even the entire nation has a totem which is symbols of the identity the tawny eagle
(Aniah, 2014).
Table 4: The totemic animals in terms of symbolism in Akan clans (Ghana)
Clan Totem (Local Name) English Name Symbolic meaning

Asona Kwaakwaadabi Crow Wisdom


Biretuo Osebo Leopard Aggressiveness
Aduana Okraman Dog Humility/Friendliness
Asakyiri Opete Vulture intelligence/Stamina
Asenie Apan Bat Diplomacy
Ekuona Ekuona Buffalo Uprightness
Agona Ako Parrot Eloquence

Oyoko Akroma Falcon/Hawk Patience


Source: http://www.abibitumikasa.com
An essential feature of Urhobos community in western Africa is the conservation of natural
resources is totemism (the belief in a supernatural connection between a group of people and a
group of objects like certain animals, sometimes plants, or more rarely other objects). Usually, it
is a taboo to kill or eat an animal totem (Tonukari, 2007).
Many wildlife species are regarded as totems due to their historical or socio-cultural significance.
Totem animals vary significantly over tribes and clans. They include merely mammals (leopard,
elephant, lion, monkey, and buffalo) and birds (falcon, raven, and parrot). Turtles, crocodiles,
snakes (python), scorpions, crabs and fishes are also considered as totems in some of the
communities in Africa (Aniah, 2014).
In the Agona Traditional Area, the fruit bat is the main totem because it symbolizes diplomacy,
an attribute that is highly regarded among the Agona people. In the Abura Traditional Area, the
elephant is the main totem. The Anombao Traditional Area has the gray parrot as the totem
because they believe the parrot introduced their ancestors to the palm nut as an edible food
(Aniah et al, 2014). Therefore, killing some kinds of animals believed to be totemic is a taboo. This
system is close to the culling practice of sustainable harvesting of wildlife resources among the people of
Central Southern Africa (Aniah, 2014).
Table 5 Some Totemic animals and its cultural values in Africa communities

Totem (sacred) animals Known beliefs


Colobus vellerosus Can forewarn villagers of upcoming unfortunate
events, such as drought, disease or death, and are
therefore not hunted

Osteolaemus tetraspis and Crocodylus African sharp-nosed crocodile are sacred animals
cataphractus worshiped by villagers and never hunted.

Python If a person saw python across a road, no harm would


be experienced
Hippopotamus amphibus Also a totem, worshipped animal, believed to provide
villagers with abundant fish catch.
Pangolin Signified that a person who saw it has long life
gray parrot in Ghana totem because they believe the parrot introduced their
ancestors to the palm nut as an edible food
Leopards is venerated symbol of unity so, venerated
Eagle (chapungu) as the royal bird and a messenger
Eagle (Shona communities) from the ancestors (Taisekwa, 2010)
An attempt to kill these animals attracted serious
Wild pigs misfortunes like drought, pests and human or livestock
diseases (Shona communities)
IPSI, 2012
4. The Role of Taboos in Natural Resource conservation
Traditional African religion (ATR) and cultural practices as done in most part of African
communities are environmentally friendly and sustainable, thus contributing so much to natural
resources sustainability and conservation (IIED, 1992).
In Nigeria and especially among the Igbo community, cultural values were safeguarded through
the use of traditional taboos (laws) and sanctions. These practices were used to preserve sacred
groves for the ultimate aim of better management and conservation of the natural resources. In
Zimbabwe, the Shona environmental taboos foster a sustainable use of the environment
(Anoliefo et al., 2003). Because taboo could limit or restricts the access to cultural protected
areas such as sacred groves, hills, trees, mountains, and spiritual venerated landscapes. The
wildlife, plant and animal species within and outside of cultural protected areas (Risiro et al,
2013).
Table 6: Role of Taboos in the Conservation of Vegetation
Type of Tree Taboo Traditional belief
Mukamba(pod mahogany); It is not allowed to be chopped Traditional ceremonies are
Muonde(fig tree) for domestic use such as done under any of these trees.
firewood They are associated with
ancestral spirits

Murungu(lucky bean tree); It is not cut down for use at It is planted on graves. As it
Mupanda the home grows it signifies life for the
dead

Mvuko Not cut for firewood Planted on graves to allow the


dead to avenge his/her killer

Gonde Not to be used for firewood Planted at the homestead to


ward off lightning

Muzeze (peltiforum Not used as firewood or Bring in evil spirits and


africanum) brought to the home confusion at the home

Munyamharadza Not used or brought home Causes separation of married


couples

Mushuma(diosphyros Not used for firewood Its smoke causes blindness


mespiliformis)
(Risiro et al, 2013)

Table 7: commonly used taboos and regulations in case of western Africa communities
Taboos
Killing an animal before finishing the previous hunt
Hunting animal for commercial purposes
Accumulation or storage of game meat for the future
Hunting or touching animal sacred to a particular clan (oghusengera)
Killing an animal found giving birth
Killing rare species such as pangolin (Manis temminckii)
Killing friendly non-edible wild animal
Killing young, pregnant or lactating animal
Killing an animal that has sought refuge in a homestead
Use of wild meat in wedding, rituals and by mothering women
Entering and harvesting any resource from sacred forests
Destroying medicinal and fruit trees
Killing or hunting an animal found in a water catchment area
Killing wild animals indiscriminately
Restrict hunting of some species unless special permit obtained from tribal chief
Restrict hunting of certain species to specific seasons to allow breeding
Source: Kideghesho (2008).

5. Challenges and Threats of Traditional Belief Systems and Indigenous Knowledge


5.1 High demand for forest products
Fuel wood is the most important household energy used by the rural populations in Africa. For
example, Charcoal is used extensively in urban area. Charcoal and timber, has escalated
pressures on remaining sacred forest stands, woodlots and sacred groves. Some tree species
previously protected in sacred forest or as sacred species are currently logged (UNDP, 2010).

Figure 1: Sacred grove in Benin


5.2 Land pressures
As commercial crops expand and the rural population grows, the demand for farmland and
human settlement continues to increase putting pressure on traditional protected areas (IUCN,
2010). This coupled with growing human needs for forest products and land for agriculture
(Soutter et al, 2003). For example, in Ethiopia High human pressure on the land create with
negative impact on the sacred sites. Anthropogenic pressure accounts the largest share for forest
destruction followed by grazing by domestic animals. The results confirmed that livestock
grazing is the major factor limiting seedling establishment and seedling survival and growth in
church sacred forests (Tilahun, 2015). This also true in Gedeo community, due to the tremendous
population pressure, Songo sacred groves have been in great pressure and the size of sacred
songo sites have been reduced (Yoseph, 2014).
5.3 Changing of social norms, mores and religion Monotheism
Changing social norms and culture are undermining many local practices as well as traditional
beliefs that have survived for hundreds of years. For example, the erosion of traditional values,
especially among the youth, has rendered the Kaya sacred forests in Kenya vulnerable to
encroachment, overexploitation and desecration. Likewise, in Ghana, young people are often
disinterested in following the old tradition (Veldman, 2004). Above all, religions monotheism
(Christianity and Islam) have declared traditional religion as evil and satanic. These are all
indications that, Christianity has seriously eroded the rich cultural and belief system of the
indigenous African people (Aniah et al, 2014).
Moreover, indigenous knowledge as well as traditional beliefs is rarely documented, and is
usually passed on by word of mouth among the generations; but much knowledge is only used in
special circumstances and so may fail to be passed down to future generations or exchanged. For
example, Use of traditional medicine is prevalent among rural communities of Africa. They have
immense knowledge on ethno-medicine but its use is rapidly diminishing partly due to lifestyle
changes and exposure to Western ideologies (Kiringe, 2005). Likewise, the lack of recognition,
understanding and use of Africas indigenous knowledge, technology and practices are the main
diminishing and undermining factors in Africa context (Mulenkei 1998). In such situations, the
conservation of sacred natural sites can be greatly enhanced by establishing buffer zones
around the sacred site itself. These zones can then help to promote sustainable development, as
demonstrated in the figure below (UNESCO, 2003):

Figure 2: Confronted challenges in traditional protected areas (UNESCO, 2003)

6. Conclusion and Recommendations


6.1 Conclusion

Traditional belief systems as well as indigenous practices have played a vital role in the
management and conservation of natural environmental in many countries of Africa. The
traditional belief system that demonstrated by indigenous community such as sacred forest and
local knowledge practices such as traditional medicinal knowledge, soil conservation and
wildlife knowledge are protecting Biodiversity and natural resources via taboos by forbidding the
felling and consumption of them. Above all, the indigenous beliefs, local knowledge and taboos
contributed immensely and effectively to the reduction in unsustainable agricultural practices and
conserving the fauna and flora in sustainable manner.

However, over the years, traditional belief systems and indigenous knowledge that conserve the
natural resources for long period have been eroded or corroded by western cultural infiltration,
population growth and religious monotheism. The paper review conclude that a re-visitation of
the traditional belief systems and cultural practices feasible promote the management,
preservation and conservation of natural resources for the sustainable development and
concerned stakeholders should work together to preserve traditional beliefs and local practices
that have been promoted the natural resource conservation .
6.2 Recommendations

One of the best modern approaches to preservation of traditional knowledge is


documentation is needed in some permanent form and public accessibility to avert
eroding factors
In addition to preservation, documentation and dissemination of indigenous practices
could provide an effective tool for research and development.
Religious leaders (pastors, priest, imams, chief priest etc) should preach followers about
the importance of indigenous practices and its differences with modern religion
Government and other conservation agencies should encourage communities still having
and practicing traditional system of resources management, this can be done through
positive motivation, recognition and incentives
Government Ministries that deal with environmental conservation need to work together
with local communities and Traditional leaders on environmental management issues.

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