Indigenous knowledge (also referred to as traditional knowledge) held by resource dependent communities is now recognized as essential to biodiversity conservation. Around the world, local communities formerly painted as environmental villains, are now celebrated by international conservation agencies as important allies as being closer to nature and fostering a sacred source of ecological knowledge. These reflects research based-based arguments that knowledge claims of local people are intimately connected with historical understandings of their landscapes and complex ecological processes at the local scale and should be incorporated into conservation science, development and planning.
At the international platform this positive shift towards recognition of traditional knowledge is reflected on a number of global processes such as climate change and biodiversity negotiations amongst others. At the national level, no less the national constitution of Kenya that calls for the recognition, protection and promotion of indigenous knowledge and innovations.
Although Maasai indigenous knowledge is evoked in conservation planning proposals, Maasai participation as knowledge actors in conservation activities on their lands remains extremely limited. This is often, related to the reluctance by scientific and state agencies to relinquish power and devolve decision-making and knowledge creation processes to local people. Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA) has made a number of contributions in the area of Indigenous knowledge systems and practices through research and publication in the context of climate change, pastoralism and land tenure among the Maasai. The application of these knowledge has been highlighted in the field of community based monitoring information systems and Pastoral bio-cultural seasonal calendars. These publication presents part of the work undertaken by ILEPA and its partners on indigenous knowledge among the Loita Maasai in Narok county, southern Kenya.