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

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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.
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Keywords: American Indians; Betula papyrifera; forest inventory and monitoring; nontimber forest products; traditional ecological knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-03-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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