Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Heather L. McMillen; Lindsay K. CampbellErika S. Svendsen; Kekuhi Kealiikanakaoleohaililani; Kainana S. FranciscoChristian P. Giardina
    Date: 2020
    Source: Ecology and Society
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Although biocultural stewardship models have been written about widely, especially in Indigenous and rural communities, the practice of applying them in multicultural, urban environments has rarely been explored. We have yet to realize the full potential of kinship-linked, place-based stewardship models in highly diverse and densely populated urban settings. Here we explore how the concept of biocultural stewardship can be applied to a cosmopolitan, urban setting. To do this, we draw upon our experiences as participants and leaders in collaborative projects in New York and Hawaiʻi to consider how diverse knowledge systems and colearning engagements can strengthen a community of practice and enrich our stewardship efforts. Our collaborative projects include stewardship trainings based in a Native Hawaiian perspective (Hālau ʻŌhiʻa) that were adapted for New York City stewardship practitioners (Learning from Place) and subsequently inspired the creation of a New York City-based community of practice (Stewardship Salons). We identify various meanings in diverse practices of stewardship and the ways in which these concepts travel across different geographical contexts and culturally distinct communities. We stress that the meanings and practices resulting from such an integration are important because they shape the conceptualization of resources, their management, and the rights and responsibilities people have for stewardship of their places. We conclude that a biocultural approach to stewardship can help reorient stewardship practices in any context, including urban ones. A shift toward biocultural stewardship can have many positive effects for urban environmental stewardship, but also for much broader applications related to cultivating sustainability and well-being on a planet undergoing rapid environmental, social, and climate change.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    McMillen, Heather L.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Kealiikanakaoleohaililani, Kekuhi; Francisco, Kainana S.; Giardina, Christian P. 2020. Biocultural stewardship, Indigenous and local ecological knowledge, and the urban crucible. Ecology and Society. 25(2): 9.


    Google Scholar


    biocultural stewardship, civic environmentalism, Hawaiʻi, Indigenous and local ecological knowledge, New York City, urban

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page