A collaborative typology of boreal Indigenous landscapes

Ms. Annie Claude Bélisle and Dr. Hugo Asselin. A collaborative typology of boreal Indigenous landscapes. Canadian Journal of Forest ResearchJust-IN  https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2020-0369

Climate change and natural resource extraction are transforming boreal forest landscapes, with effects on Indigenous people’s relationship with the land. Collaborative management could enhance the consideration of Indigenous perspectives and limit negative outcomes of environmental change, but it remains the exception rather than the norm. We addressed barriers to involvement of Indigenous people in land management by developing a method to enhance communication and trust, while favouring bottom-up decision-making. We partnered with the Abitibiwinni and Ouje-Bougoumou First Nations (boreal Quebec, Canada) (1) to develop indicators of Indigenous landscape state, (2) to create a typology of Indigenous hunting grounds, and 3) to suggest guidelines for sustainable land management in Indigenous contexts. Through participatory mapping and semi-directed interviews with 23 local experts, we identified factors influencing Indigenous landscape value. Using open-access data, we developed indicators to measure landscape state according to those values. We identified four types of hunting grounds with k-means clustering, based upon biophysical factors and disturbance history. Our results suggest that land management should aim to reduce differences between hunting ground states and consider the risk of rapid shifts from one state to another.