Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Using Traditional Ecological Knowledge as a Basis for Targeted Forest Inventories: Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) in the US Great Lakes Region

Authors:

Marla Emery

Alexandra Wrobel

Mark Hansen

Michael Dockry

Keith Moser

Kekek Stark

Jonathan Gilbert

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2014
Secondary Title:
Journal of Forestry
ISSN:
00221201
DOI:
10.5849/jof.13-023
Pages:
207-214
Volume:
112
Year:
2014
Date:
1-Mar-2014
URL:
https://academic.oup.com/jof/article/112/2/207-214/4599600

Abstract

Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been proposed as a basis for enhanced understanding of ecological systems and their management. TEK also can contribute to targeted inventories of resources not included in standard mensuration. We discuss the results of a cooperative effort between the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) and USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA). At the urging of member tribes, GLIFWC staff worked with tribal gatherers to document TEK regarding desired characteristics of birch bark for traditional uses and translated this into an inventory field guide. The guide was provided to FIA, which incorporated the methods into its field manual and trained inventory crews in implementation of the protocol. Birch bark data were collected during three field seasons from 2004 to 2006. Results show birch bark supply has declined. Lessons learned from this multiyear, multistage project provide a model for future targeted inventory efforts.