Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y082318

    Understanding the spatial and quality attributes of culturally important non-timber forest product species in mountain pine beetle affected areas of the Cariboo-Chilcotin
Project lead: Cocksedge, Wendy (Royal Roads University)
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
No deviations or changes from the originally approved project. Project description remains as per the original proposal, copied below: This three-year project will look at the effects of mountain pine beetle on selected understory plant and fungal species which are of high cultural importance and priority to the T'exelc and Xats’ull First Nations. Aboriginal Peoples continue to rely on traditionally used forest botanical species for cultural, recreational, subsistence and economic activities. Over the past several decades, the commercial use and awareness of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have risen dramatically due to various reasons such as increased global market demand, rural communities requiring alternatives for economic diversification, increased awareness of health and nutraceutical benefits, and a growing interest in cultural revitalisation. The expansion of the sector has been beneficial for many individuals and communities, but has also raised a number of concerns around resource and access rights, over-harvesting, and stewardship of the species and their ecosystems. There is currently no methodology developed for incorporating non-timber forest products into conventional vegetation inventories, and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to ensure sustainability of this sector. Overlaying this scenario is an increase of disturbance within areas traditionally harvested, including logging, fires and, recently, severe mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreaks. The mountain pine beetle, by effectively killing large portions of the pine forests, is inevitably affecting the distribution, abundance and quality of the understory. This in turn affects community access to and ability to use these species. Understanding which species are important to the local Aboriginal communities and how to assess and incorporate the species quality (i.e. whether it is sufficient for traditional/NTFP use) within vegetation inventories is the first step necessary to ensure appropriate methods of study, as currently there are no adequate methods available to incorporate NTFP information within vegetation inventories. With these tools, it will then be possible to look at the distribution, abundance and quality of the species within MPB affected areas, compare with non-affected areas or historical data in order to understand the effect of the MPB on the understory and therefore help to address remediation of effects and possibly guide restoration efforts. To address these concerns, it is important to establish partnerships based on the diverse perspectives, knowledge, and experience that characterize this sector. The Aboriginal perspective and knowledge is crucial to the stewardship of the NTFP sector. It is further important to develop relationships which will protect Aboriginal culture, history and use while ensuring that knowledge important to the sector and the ecosystems is shared and developed for the benefit of all those who depend upon these resources. Year 1 established protocols for sharing information including a Memorandum of Understanding between RRU and both the Xats’ull and T’exelc Nations, developed background information on NTFP species of interest through both workshops within the Nations and through literature searches, and identified location options for the field testing phase in Year 2. Year 1 will also provide a review of information available on the species and the area, including previously completed mapping (TEM/PEM, Vegetation Inventories, etc), literature including autecological requirements, ethnobotanical uses, and effects of pine beetle, and discussions with local harvesters to gather anecdotal information on MPB effects on the species of interest. Based on information available, a workplan will be developed for Years 2 and 3, including any clarification of methodology. Sampling of the selected areas will occur in Years 2 and 3. Sampling methodology will follow the vegetation inventory methodology established by Ministry of Forests and Range through the Forest Ecosystem Recovery project, which look at vegetation inventories following disturbance. Sampling will involve two crews of 3-4 people for a two-week period. Each crew will be comprised of one ecologist from the Forest Ecosystem Recovery project, one ecologist from Tolko, one elder and one youth resource technician/worker from one of the partner bands. One ethnobotanist from RRU will also be involved for part of the fieldwork to assist with logistics and on-going methodology development. Based on the needs assessed from the communities and from the collected data, the second two-week field season could cover either another geographical area, a follow-up set of data from the sampling area developed in Year 2, or sampling during another season to incorporate other species, such as mushrooms. The deliverables for this project will be a final report for the Forest Science Program based on the literature reviews and analysed sample data. Ethnobotanical data which as been agreed to be shared will also be included for the purpose of quality assessment of the species. Both the quantitative and qualitative data will be linked to the Forest Ecosystem Recovery project, if possible, in order to better understand the large-scale effects of disturbance on selected culturally important species. A second deliverable will be a plain language report of all the data collected from the community, including all of the ethnobotanical data, quality assessments, anecdotal information as well as the quantitative data results. This document will be the exclusive property of the T'exelc and Xats’ull Nations for their own community use.
Related projects:  FSP_Y071318FSP_Y093318
Contact: Cocksedge, Wendy, (250) 391-2600 ext. 4469,


Executive Summary (0.4Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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