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Integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science for Fire Management

A Collaboration
Collaborator's Logos - Intertribal Timber Council, University of Washington, Bureau of Indian Affairs, USDA Forest Service, Joint Fire Science Program

Background | Contacts | Comments & Recommendations | Video Message

A brief message to tribal leaders, resource managers, fire scientists and other interested parties (12 minutes 43 seconds)

Project Background

Prescribed understory burn

Over the last two centuries, development, fire suppression, and resource management practices have increased wildfire incidence, severity, and costs.  In response to growing wildfire hazard, the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) was created in 1998 as an interagency research, development, and applications partnership between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An important focus of the JFSP is development and integration of science-based knowledge and tools to support wildland fire research and management, Western Science for Fire Management.

Fire has always been an important resource management tool for Indian tribes.  Periodic under-burning not only produced desirable ecological conditions, but reduced fuel accumulations that might otherwise sustain intense fires and cause the catastrophic loss of property, resources, and lives.  A fundamental land ethic, founded upon the survival imperative and implemented through adaptive management involving multiple and diverse values, has endured through millennia, in ways that conserve resources while providing for the needs of people.  Indigenous legacies of experiential learning, based upon respectful interaction between man and nature, have evolved Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

There is a great potential for western science and traditional ecological knowledge to complement each other.  The Intertribal Timber Council and the University of Washington, with support from JFSP, the BIA, and the Forest Service, are developing a proposal to promote sharing of fire-related information between tribes, agencies, and research organizations.  Links on his page lead to a short video prepared to provide more information about this important opportunity, a draft proposal for your review and comment, and a site for you to share your thoughts on how a program can best be crafted to serve the needs of Indian Country.

Draft Proposal (PDF)


Thank you,

Gary Morishima, morikog@aol.com
Larry Mason, larrym@u.washington.edu
Ernesto Alvarado, alvarado@u.washington.edu
Everett Isaac, eisaac@u.washington.edu
Jonathan Tallman, tallmj2@u.washington.edu 

Comments & Recommendations

We need your comments and recommendations about how to make the most of this rare opportunity. Please take a few moments to respond to the following questions.
1. Would your tribe consider convening a workshop at a reservation location where traditional ecological knowledge and western fires science could be openly discussed?

Yes, please contact me to discuss hosting a workshop.

2. How should a program be designed to meet the needs of Indian Country for dealing with wildfire?

3. What would be the most appropriate way to encourage keepers of traditional ecological knowledge to share wisdom and perspective?
4. Additional thoughts and comments:

Thank you for taking the time to help us in this project. We appreciate any comments or recommendations that you are willing to submit to help us move the Integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science for Fire Management project forward.


Please enter the following information; your support is important to this project's success.

Last Name


School of Forest Resources
USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry
WSU Cooperative Extension
The Rural Technology Home Page is provided by the School of Forest Resources at the University of Washington College of the Environment. For more information, please contact the Rural Technology Initiative, University of Washington Box 352100 Seattle, WA 98195, (206) 543-0827. © 2000-2004, University of Washington, Rural Technology Initiative, including all photographs and images unless otherwise noted. To view the www.ruraltech.org privacy policy, click here.
Last Updated 3/23/2017 11:28:43 AM