Raising the Methodological Bar: The Application and Use of Traditional Knowledge and Genomic Approaches to Project Monitoring and Adaptive Management


NA Deanna Higginson, Dr Doug Bright

This presentation discusses the practical value of increased use of both Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Use (TK/TU) and environmental genomics tools such as environmental DNA (eDNA) in monitoring and mine project management. When used together, these powerful tools and methodologies can provide critical information, not just for gathering baseline data but also for discovering new ways of balancing resource development activities and achieving environmental sustainability across all phases of project approval, construction, operation, and closure. These two types of knowledge are each substantially under-utilized for mine management decisions, especially beyond the initial acquisition of baseline data to achieve environmental approvals. Each method also has a much greater capacity to help guide a project through a mine’s life than is currently recognized by industry. When used together, TK/TU and genomics such as eDNA provide greatly improved, project-specific information for informing cumulative effects monitoring and management while providing culturally appropriate approaches to project and land use decisions. In addition, these two methodological approaches are highly complementary, and can collectively reduce the uncertainty about the consequences of resource extraction by providing tangible information over larger scales (landscape and watershed-level) as well as improved spatial and temporal resolution.