Ecomimicry in Indigenous resource management: optimizing ecosystem services to achieve resource abundance, with examples from Hawaiʻ
Winter, K. B. et al.2020
Here, we expand on the term “ecomimicry” to be an umbrella concept for an approach to adaptive ecosystem-based management of social-ecological systems that simultaneously optimizes multiple ecosystem services for the benefit of people and place. In this context, we define ecomimicry as a strategy for developing and managing cultural landscapes, built upon a deep understanding of the structure and function of ecosystems, that harnesses ecosystem processes for the purpose of balancing and sustaining key ecosystem services, rather than maximizing one service (e.g., food production) to the detriment of others. Ecomimicry arises through novel, place-based innovations or is adopted from elsewhere and adapted to local conditions. Similarly, precontact Hawaiian social-ecological systems integrated a variety of ecomimicry schema to engender a complex system of adaptive resource management that enhanced biocultural diversity and supported resilient food systems, ultimately sustaining a thriving human population. In addition to presenting a synopsis of how ecomimicry was employed in the design and management of Hawaiian social-ecological systems, we identify and characterize specific ecomimicry applications. Within this context, we explore a revival of ecomimicry for biological conservation, biocultural restoration, resilience, and food security. We conclude with a discussion of how revitalizing such an approach in the restoration of social-ecological systems may address issues of conservation and sustainability in the Anthropocene.
Winter, K. B., N. K. Lincoln, F. Berkes, R. A. Alegado, N. Kurashima, K. L. Frank, P. Pascua, Y. M. Rii, F. Reppun, I. S. S. Knapp, W. C. McClatchey, T. Ticktin, C. Smith, E. C. Franklin, K. Oleson, M. R. Price, M. A. McManus, M. J. Donahue, K. S. Rodgers, B. W. Bowen, C. E. Nelson, B. Thomas, J.-A. Leong, E. M. P. Madin, M. A. J. Rivera, K. A. Falinski, L. L. Bremer, J. L. Deenik, S. M. Gon III, B. Neilson, R. Okano, A. Olegario, B. Nyberg, A. H. Kawelo, K. Kotubetey, J. K. Kukea-Shultz, and R. J. Toonen. 2020. Ecomimicry in Indigenous resource management: optimizing ecosystem services to achieve resource abundance, with examples from Hawaiʻi. Ecology and Society 25(2):26.