Sustainable Alternatives to Industrial Forestry in the Gwich'in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Anderson, David G (8)
Licence Number: 13058
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2000 1999 1998
Issued: Jun 30, 1999
Project Team: Dr. Ross Wein (co-investigator), Ian Macdonald (research partner), Rob Wishart, Ara Murray, Simon Landhausser, Barbara Sander, Jessika Schoplick (and 2 fieldworkers)

Objective(s): The aim of this project is to provide trained research assistance from the University of Alberta, Departments of Anthropology and of Renewable Resources, to work with the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board to develop a forest management plan that is sensitive to the priorities identified by the Gwich'in Elders and contemporary Gwich'in forest users. This project is directly oriented towards articulating the socioeconomic aspects of an integrated management plan and thus takes Gwich'in claims about land and resources seriously. The research will involve a mixture of community and archive research, as well as workshops in which elders, contemporary forest users and researchers representing the various foci will come together to use the information to derive a viable forest management plan. The key question of the proposed research will be the sustainability of forests within the Gwich'in Settlement Areas under various use scenarios, based on both historic use and the history of natural disturbance/regeneration cycles.

Project Description: The objective of this study is to develop a forest management plan that is sensitive to the priorities identified by the Gwich'in Elders and contemporary Gwich'in forest users. A total of four graduate students and their assistants will work with forestry experts employed by the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB) both to supplement an existing database and to synthesize the material into a series of reports for both community and academic audiences. The anthropology students will integrate oral testimony from elders with archival materials to provide an overview of the history of timber use and the local value attached to forest resources. The forestry biology students will work on measurements of forest dynamics at test sites to be determined in consultation with the GRRB.