The wide variety of plants used traditionally by First Nations people, and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in general, have not been well represented in forest management. We propose to explore the ecological, economic, and social consequences of varying harvest, retention and post-harvest treatments which include these Aboriginal values, and to evaluate the trade-offs involved in doing so.
Our main objective is to measure and compare the effects of four different forest practices on food and medicinal plants highly valued by First Nations in interior British Columbia, in order to create reasonable management targets for these species. We conceptualize ?reasonable targets? in terms of both population and habitat levels negotiated as management trade-offs among specific uses and values, especially the value attached to commercial timber harvest by First Nations on their own tenures. Thus the research will examine how varying types and intensities of forest disturbance, natural and silvicultural, are linked to the distribution and productivity of traditionally valued plants. We will assess these outcomes first in ecological terms by asking how many valued plant species and how much commercial timber were available under each management scenario.
Second, we will assess the direct economic costs and benefits of the four management scenarios by calculating, for example, the cost of specific management actions taken and the costs of foregone timber harvest in relation to the direct economic benefits of timber harvest. An analysis of these direct costs and benefits will be presented to First Nations communities, and their neighbours who work jointly on a community forest, alongside an analysis of the regeneration of food and medicinal plants in each scenario. These communities will be asked to consider (1) how much they value traditionally-used plants in relation to how much they value timber harvest and (2) which of the four scenarios most closely approximates the trade-off they prefer between the two values. We will extend the analysis to other NTFPs where practical and cost-effective.
The research is intended to test the hypothesis of Jim McGrath, forester for the Kamloops Indian Band (KIB), that one of the four treatments can optimize both economic value from timber harvest and also the regeneration of traditionally valued forest plants. This treatment consists of (1) logging which leaves 20 stems per hectare, followed by a light burn to release seeds, promoting natural regeneration. This treatment will be compared to three others: (2) conventional clearcut logging with replanting, (3) unlogged wildfire-burned areas which are untouched, and (4) the same unlogged wildfire-burned areas in which the remaining trees were clearcut, and 30% of the area replanted. Wildfires are included to explore the extent to which controlled burns produce plant responses similar to the low-intensity portions of wildfires, and to involve aboriginal elders in a positive search for alternative forest practices which include their values and mimic their traditional practices. Currently elders and many other community members perceive industrial forest practices negatively, while perceiving wildfires and traditional aboriginal burning practices as acceptable. We expect this research to reduce tensions and create dialogue between First Nations who persist in traditional burning practices and MoFR staff attempting to suppress or discourage such practices. The research will allow aboriginal communities and industry as a whole to consider possible choices from a more informed position.
Whether or not McGrath?s hypothesis is confirmed, the research will generate information on plant responses to the four treatments, and offer clues about the causal relationships involved -- because of the location and nature of plant communities which emerge, especially their proximity to remaining trees. Elders will assist in generating hypotheses about these cau ...
Pinkerton, Evelyn. 2009. Evaluating the Ecological, Economic, and Social Trade-Offs of Managing for Valued Plants and Other Non-Timber Forest Products. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2009MR407
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), British, Columbia
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