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 (3)
Licence Number: 16663
Organization: GNWT-ENR
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2020 2019
Issued: Jan 08, 2020
Project Team: John Cook

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

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4672.

The objectives of this project are to describe different plants and vegetation communities that offer different nutritional value to boreal caribou using both scientific language and traditional knowledge and language; and, to create a plain-language document(s) that shares information on habitats, vegetation communities, and 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 (2-4 sites/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 will share information both ways; e.g. 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, and potentially their 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 2 will incorporate knowledge learned in year 1 and may be revised based on feedback.

Each fall a meeting will be held with the participants from each Indigenous Government Organizations (IGO) to discuss the information received during site visits and verify that it is being communicated appropriately (as described elsewhere in this application). 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 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 January 8, 2020 to October 1, 2020.