Research team awarded grant to study ethnoforestry

Bear grass is one of the plants the research team will study.

Earlier this month, The University of Washington Population Health Initiative announced it would be awarding about $280,000 in grant funding to six teams at UW. The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is proud to congratulate a team of three investigators from the school who were awarded some of this funding.

The team is comprised of Bernard Bormann, director of Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC), Marc Miller with Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Courtney Bobsin, a graduate student with SEFS. Their research project is titled, “Ethnoforestry: Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Ecosystem Sustainability on the Olympic Peninsula.” Half of the funding for the group’s award was provided from a partnership with UW’s EarthLab, which works in partnership with others to co-produce and catalyze actionable science.

An excerpt of the project’s abstract reads:

“Across the Olympic Peninsula, widespread changes in forest management policy have altered rural communities over the last several decades. Many rural communities were hit hard by a decrease in available jobs due to a decline in timber supply from over-harvesting and spotted owl protections as well as mill modernization. Tribes have since suffered from a decline of some cultural keystone species adapted to early seral conditions precluded by efficient tree regeneration and late-seral reserves. In the aftermath of this, rural communities are left to rebuild with their primary sources of work and culture degraded.

“Through this grant, we will work will tribal and non-tribal communities on the Washington Coast to determine what plant species they would like to see us bring back in nearby ecosystems. We will develop a research proposal to test the growth and success of these species in permanent plots. This interdisciplinary approach will not only enhance the resilience and health of the local community, it will also benefit the local ecosystem.”

To learn more about the grants, read the full release here.