"Everything we do, it's cedar": First Nation and ecosystem-based foresters' relationships and practices with western redcedar

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 13:45
, Marie - Columbia University
, Matthew - Columbia University

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. Interviews were conducted with Northwest Coast Indigenous people and ecosystem-based foresters in coastal British Columbia. Both groups expressed a personal—often spiritual—connection with nature, both value long-term management strategies, and both have similar environmental concerns. First Nation individuals have a unique spiritual relationship with western redcedar that correlates to both everyday and ceremonial practices with cedar, while ecosystem-based foresters have personal and academic relationships broadly with nature. These results are particularly useful to show that people from varied cultural backgrounds can care for the environment in similar ways and to demonstrate the nexus between relationships and practices with natural resources.