Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) manage over half of the world’s landscapes, and this management involves landscape transformations associated with their sociocultures. Although anthropologists have shown that IPLC sociocultures influence management, and historical-ecological studies have shown that this management influences environments, how interactions between IPLC sociocultures and environments influence landscape transformations is less clear. Here we use a historical-ecological approach and a cultural niche construction perspective to present an IPLC landscape transformation framework that identifies and integrates sociocultural and environmental elements. Our framework shows that IPLC’ landscape transformations occur through cultural niche construction and are influenced by historical events. IPLC sociocultures influence ecological processes and patterns through interactions that create sociocultural and ecological inheritances. These inheritances involve IPLC worldviews and associated norms, practices and knowledge which influence ecological processes that, in turn, engender ecological patterns. On the other hand, ecological processes and patterns influence IPLC sociocultures as they are perceived and processed according to local worldviews, so generating sociocultural–environmental feedbacks. To exemplify our framework, we present cases of cultural niche construction by Amazonian IPLC that show how interactions between sociocultures and environments influence landscape transformations. We argue that understanding how IPLC sociocultures have interacted with environments can help scientists, conservation practitioners and policymakers to combine scientific knowledge production, biodiversity protection and IPLC’ well-being.

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