The Vitality Index of Traditional Environmental Knowledge (VITEK) is the first-ever quantitative measure of trends in the retention or loss of traditional knowledge about the natural world. It provides a practical methodology for gathering and analyzing data on Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) and for building a locally appropriate, yet globally applicable, indicator of changes in the state of TEK over time. Why does it matter?
TEK is a fundamental expression of the biocultural links between people and nature, and is a key to human survival and adaptation. But there is growing concern that rapid socio-economic change is undermining the intergenerational transmission of TEK in many parts of the world. TEK loss threatens the security, well-being, and identity of Indigenous peoples and local communities. It also threatens the conservation of biodiversity, as recognized by international bodies such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).