Sophisticated knowledge of the natural world is not confined to science. Societies from all parts of the world possess richt sets of experience, understanding and explanation. Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understanding, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. For rural and indigenous peoples, local knowledge informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of day-to-day life.
The integration of qualitative data requires a bottom-up approach which means piecing together individual base elements to a complete system. These individual base elements are observations on permafrost-thawing induced changes of the landscape made by locals and indigenous people, i.e. people which are in continuous contact with their environment and carry the knowledge from having lived with their environment for many generations. These knowledge products can then be crossed with other present information in order to form a much more complete picture than it would be possible with the single integration of quantitative data.
Qualitative and quantitative data complement each other by establishing a circular flow between the scientist and the quantitative data and the feedback of the local and the qualitative data.
In order to integrate qualitative data into the GTN-P database standardized protocols and thus an own controlled vocabulary need to be established.