Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Julia R.S. Bursten


This dissertation addresses the growing need within climate research for improvements in regional and local climate information. I argue that knowledge gaps in regional climate information constitute a form of climate injustice in which harm largely falls on regions most vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, I show that our current methods for garnering regional climate information fail to provide information on place-specific factors, such as local culture, socio-economic systems, and ecology, which mediate climate change impacts. In order to address these knowledge gaps, as well as provide information necessary for effective mitigation and adaptation, I argue for the inclusion of local knowledge in climate change research. In addition to this normative argument, I address the ethical and epistemological issues surrounding local knowledge inclusion. This includes concerns relating to exploitation and 'data mining', as well as how to navigate differences in ontological, epistemological, and value commitments between local communities and academic researchers. In addressing these concerns, I argue that we adopt a “partial overlaps” approach in order to facilitate knowledge inclusion and co-production without overlooking important differences between these epistemic communities. Drawing on field work conducted with Michigan farmers and extension personnel, I show how this framework can be applied within the context of climate-agricultural research, as well as facilitate the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This research was supported by National Science Foundation (US) Award #2132038: The Epistemology of Agricultural Science (principal investigator: Julia Bursten) in 2023.

This research was supported in part by an appointment to the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Participation Program administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ORISE is managed by ORAU under DOE contract number DE-SC0014664. All opinions expressed in this paper are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of USDA, DOE, or ORAU/ORISE.