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1 September 2018 “Everything We Do, It's Cedar”: First Nation and Ecologically-Based Forester Land Management Philosophies in Coastal British Columbia
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People's values and attitudes regarding the natural world determine the level of care with which they approach the use of natural resources. We studied how human relationships with nature influence people's actions, using western redcedar (Thuja plicata), a major forest tree of northwestern North America, as a study system. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven Northwest Coast Indigenous plant experts and eleven ecologists and foresters of mixed European descent with an ecologically-oriented perspective in coastal British Columbia. The transcripts were analyzed using NVivo qualitative data analysis software for emerging themes. Results demonstrate more commonalities than differences between the two groups; they both expressed a personal—often spiritual—connection with nature and both value long-term and interdisciplinary management strategies. First Nation individuals have a unique spiritual relationship with western redcedar that is linked to both everyday and ceremonial practices, while ecologically-based foresters and ecologists have personal and academic relationships broadly with nature. They have similar environmental concerns of damage from industrial forestry practices, particularly the loss of old growth forests, and the negative effects of climate change. Our results support the assertion that First Nation perspectives are equally scholarly as the foresters' perspectives are reverential, and people from varied cultural backgrounds can care for the environment in similar ways. Moreover, an interdisciplinary approach that unifies science with Indigenous teachings can encourage a new moral framework for forestry management that values resources beyond commodification.

Marie J. Zahn, Matthew I. Palmer, and Nancy J. Turner "“Everything We Do, It's Cedar”: First Nation and Ecologically-Based Forester Land Management Philosophies in Coastal British Columbia," Journal of Ethnobiology 38(3), 314-332, (1 September 2018).
Published: 1 September 2018

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