Ethnoecology is the study of complex relationships, both past and present, between people and their environment. It transcends the disciplinary boundaries of anthropology, botany, zoology, ecology, economics, archaeology, pharmacology, linguistics and related fields. The emphasis of ethnoecology is on local peoples’ perceptions, knowledge and understandings of their own reality and problems. Few fields are better positioned to provide the background, knowledge, and insights necessary to promote dialogue and find workable solutions to today’s pressing resource management and social justice concerns.

Traditional resource rights integrate a bundle of basic rights that include human and cultural rights, the right to self-determination, and land and territorial rights. Traditional resource rights recognize the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to control the use of plant, animal and other resources, and associated traditional knowledge and technologies. They take into account the spiritual, aesthetic, cultural and economic values of such resources, knowledge and technologies.