Scientific knowledge systems have received increasing criticism within the social science literature while indigenous knowledge systems are often over-optimistically presented as viable alternative ways of knowing. This paper argues that we need to search for more effective and creative interactions between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge systems. I discuss the strengths and the weaknesses of both scientific and indigenous knowledge systems, then use three examples to illustrate the strengths and limitations of indigenous knowledge systems. I then draw on these examples to indicate in what situations we should look for guidance and ideas from indigenous knowledge systems. The paper closes with a discussion of how scientists, social scientists and people with local knowledge can better work together to improve agricultural and natural resource management systems.

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