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The Potential of, and Threat to, the Transfer of Ecological Knowledge in Urban Areas: The Case of Community-Based Woodland Management in Tokyo, Japan

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Tsuchiya, Kazuaki; Aoyagi, Midori; Okuro, Toshiya; Takeuchi, Kazuhiko
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 19
Date: 2014
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9447
Sector: Forestry
Urban Commons
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): local knowledge
forest management
Abstract: "Urban dwellers often have little knowledge of local ecosystems, but community groups that actively manage local ecosystems can acquire a rich ecological knowledge. Understanding the knowledge transfer process within community groups contributes to the continuous improvement of urban ecosystem management. In this paper, we address three main questions: (1) How is ecological knowledge acquisition linked to boundary and intra-group interactions? (2) Does holding knowledge mean the involvement in actual management activities? (3) Does the aging of community group members threaten the continuity of activities? We selected satoyama woodlands (seminatural woodlands) in peri-urban Tokyo, Japan as a study site. We used a mixed method approach that combined a qualitative interview with a quantitative questionnaire. We found that boundary interactions were particularly important at the start of an urban ecological management process, to obtain basic knowledge relating to management activities. Intra-group interaction contributed to knowledge transfer after the starting period. We found that participants possessing considerable ecological knowledge do not necessarily participate in management activities. Findings also indicated that the aging of group members in groups established for more than 10 years was an area of concern for the continuity of group activities. New members did not necessarily solve this aging issue. We conclude that further measures and actions are needed to ensure long-term knowledge transfer among the participants of community groups in urban ecosystem management."

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