Identifying habitats that influence body condition and fitness of adult female caribou in the southern Northwest Territories [traditional knowledge component

Regions: Dehcho Region, South Slave Region

Tags: vegetation, caribou, traditional knowledge, plants, habitat

Principal Investigator: Kelly, Allicia (1)
Licence Number: 16616
Organization: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (GNWT-ENR)
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Aug 29, 2019

Objective(s): To describe different plants and vegetation communities that offer different nutritional value to boreal caribou using both scientific language and traditional knowledge language.

Project Description:
This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4572.

The objective of this project is to describe different plants and vegetation communities that offer different nutritional value to boreal caribou using both scientific and traditional knowledge language. As well as create a plain-language document that shares information on habitats, vegetation communities, plant species, and their importance to boreal caribou nutrition and condition (i.e. body fatness), in a way that is accessible to community people and incorporates both scientific and traditional knowledge

Two days of site visits will occur by project staff and community members (Two to Four sites per day) to preselected understory vegetation communities that represent habitat that is poor, adequate, good and excellent in terms of nutritional value for boreal caribou (based on recent scientific research). Participants will meet ahead of time in the community (e.g. at band office) for a briefing on the day and then car-pool / drive to the site locations. Participants will walk around in the identified vegetation sites and share information both ways. The research team will share scientific information on which plants are selected by caribou and which have poor versus good nutritional value. Traditional Knowledge holders will share their information, language or terminology about the plants and habitat communities, as well as any associated information about the boreal forest or boreal caribou that they feel is relevant. Site visits in year two will incorporate knowledge learned in year one and may be revised based on feedback.
Each fall, a meeting will be held with the participants from each Indigenous Government Organization (IGO) to discuss the information received during site visits and verify that it is being communicated appropriately. Subsequent meetings may also be held with participants or language experts/ translators as needed to create the documents and products recommended by the participant group. Plain language documents will also be developed.

Plain language documents will be produced, shared with IGOs and made publically available (e.g. via ENR’s web site). Traditional Knowledge information collected during site visits or as part of this project, and included in these documents will be verified with participants during separate meetings.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 27, 2019 to October 01, 2019.