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Traditional Ecological Knowledge Used in Forest Restoration Benefits Natural and Cultural Resources: The Intersection between Pandora Moths, Jeffrey Pine, People, and Fire

  • Author(s): Slaton, Michèle R;
  • Holmquist, Jeffrey G;
  • Meyer, Marc;
  • Andrews, Raymond;
  • Beidl, Jacqueline
  • et al.

Collaborative efforts between indigenous peoples and government land managers are gaining recognition as important elements of forest restoration. Unique land allocations, such as the Research Natural Area (RNA) system of the US Forest Service, necessitate novel approaches to achieve desiredoutcomes among stakeholders. We describe a Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) framework that integrates efforts among resource managers, tribal representatives, scientists, and a tribal youth intern program to conduct ecological restoration in a Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) forest ecosystemof the western United States with a history of frequent fires. Reintroduction of TEK-based practices provided some moderation of fire effects duringan unplanned wildfire event, benefiting both ecological conditions and a traditional Paiute Indian food source, piagi, the larvae of the Pandora moth (Coloradia pandora). Tribal youth learned about traditional food collection and land management practices, and federal managers discovered thatTEK helped achieve ecological restoration goals. Our collaborative framework increased confidence in the mutual benefits of western science- and TEK-based forest management practices, creating a foundation for long-term partnership in ecosystem restoration.

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