The contribution of local knowledge to climate change research

Credit: Vincent Porcher / If Not Us Then Who

The LICCI project aimed at capturing details about how Indigenous peoples and local communities perceive climate change impacts and how they have adapted their livelihoods and culture. These communities provide a different way of understanding the world and bring new views about climate change impacts that complement Western scientific understandings.


LICCI has compiled Indigenous peoples and local communities reports of climate change impacts and adaptations. Such reports are part of a wider knowledge system that guides local livelihoods and relations to the local environment, and can therefore inform interventions to adapt to climate change impacts.

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The LICCI Policy Brief

We have captured the lessons learned and policy recommendations of the LICCI project in this policy brief. Download it now.

These recommendations are well-aligned with recent recommendations from the UN Forum on Indigenous Issues and are also applicable to other international assessments of sustainability science.

Local knowledge systems - Home
Learning form local responses
LICCI collaborative adaptation cycle: Scientists and climate adaptation stakeholders to engage with IPs and LCs for grounded, participatory and culturally-appropriate planning and climate adaptation action

Routledge Handbook of Climate Change Impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Routledge handbook of climate

Edited by Victoria Reyes-García

In this Handbook, we examine the diverse ways in which climate change impacts Indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as their responses to these changes.

The book summarizes the outcomes of the LICCI project, which aimed to bridge the gap between well-established evidence on climate change and the scarcity of data needed to detect impacts in remote and marginalized areas of the world. This was achieved through field research conducted among Indigenous peoples and local communities distributed around the world.

The Handbook includes contributions from a range of authors of different nationalities, disciplinary backgrounds, and positionalities, thereby reflecting the diversity of approaches in the field.


LICCI envisioned a new way of conducting research on climate change. One that brings together different knowledge systems to better un- derstand how climate change impacts not only ecosystems all over the world, but also each of the communities inhabiting Earth.

It’s imperative that all voices are heard in the taking of local and global decisions to address the global crisis we are facing.

Researchers - Ico

81 Researchers

65 Institutions

Institutions - Ico

5,059 Participants

49 Cultures & Nationalities

Countries - Ico

179 Communities

37 Countries

The LICCI team, together with local partners in the field, unites a wide range of disciplines under a common interest in ecology and indigenous and local knowledge systems.

Climate change has disproportionate impacts on Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable communities.
Indigenous peoples and local communities have long-standing histories of interaction with the environment and can detect climatic variability and its impacts. Their knowledge systems can inform understandings of climate change impacts and adaptation policies.

The LICCI project has developed a system of local indicators of change based on Indigenous and local knowledge systems. This system of indicators allows the gathering  and assessment of data about their reports of climate change impacts on the atmospheric, physical and life systems.

The project has studied 50 sites around the world, not only allowing for a better understanding of local climate change impacts but also providing a new way of testing hypotheses of how climate change impacts Indigenous peoples and local communities on a global scale.


The LICCI project reached locations around the world through fieldwork and outreach. However, its impact continues as various decision-makers adopt LICCI research findings to develop a more comprehensive and equitable understanding of climate change impacts.

Here, we highlight some of the legacy projects that have emerged from LICCI and have extended their reach to broader communities and targets.

A network of research and civil society partners supporting Indig- enous peoples and local communities. They have developed com- munity-based digital monitoring tools to collect and geolocalise data on local climate change impacts and resilience.
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The project aims to contribute to the field of Indigenous Data Sov- ereignty (IDS) by developing a set of tools to guide the handling of Indigenous knowledge and data in the open while adhering to Indig- enous data sovereignty principles (e.g. CARE Principles).
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A web-based platform in which any citizen in the world will be able to contribute with information on local indicators of climate change impacts, and researchers will be able to connect to each other to exchange knowledge and data.

The online course includes a theoretical and a methodological component, through which participants will learn methodologies to conduct research on Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ perceptions of climate change impacts.
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The LICCI project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC Consolidator Grant No 771056 LICCI)