February 28, 2013
1:00 pmto2:30 pm

Terrestrial Research on Ecosystems & World-wide Education & Broadcast || An Innovative Graduate Training Program

Seminar: José Arias Bustamante

February 21, 2013

February 28, 2013
1:00 pmto2:30 pm


“Climate Change and Indigenous Knowledge: Experiences from Nisga’a People”

Thursday Feb. 28th, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Forest Sciences Centre 1221

Everyone welcome!


If you cannot make it in person, you can access the live webinar link here. Please log in 5 minutes early.

Summary: The forests and rangelands of British Columbia generate a variety of resources for people, ranging from wood products to non-timber forest products to intangible benefits. For example, forests act as a filter, generating a supply of fresh water. At the same time, forests and the streams within them provide habitat for fish and wildlife and, by protecting species at risk, forests are important reserves of biodiversity. Additionally, they provide areas for recreation in all seasons, and are culturally and spiritually significant for Indigenous peoples, who have lived in what is now known as British Columbia and the surrounding areas since time immemorial, developing several distinctive and successful livelihoods using local resources and adapting to the landscapes and environments in which they have resided. As a consequence, Indigenous peoples have much to contribute, and teach us, about both documenting and understanding the effects of climate change, and about attempting to respond to, and cope with, climate change at both global and local levels. Indigenous knowledge can enhance Western society’s appreciation of the cultures that hold this knowledge. The recording of such knowledge should also be seen as an important tool for social change and for maintaining the wellbeing of the people. Through the implementation of an Indigenous research framework, my project is examining and characterizing the potential impacts of climate change in the lands of the Nisga’a Nation (Northwestern British Columbia).

Bio: José received his Bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering from the University of Chile. He has collaborated with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the south of Chile regarding sustainable forest management and sustainable production of firewood based on native forest. Before he came to Canada, José was a research assistant in the Forest Institute of Chile (INFOR), where he worked with rural communities in a Project on Honey Production in the north of Chile. Currently, José is doing a M.Sc. in forestry at UBC Faculty of Forestry under the supervision of Dr. John L. Innes. Here, José is a member of the Sustainable Forest Management Research Group (SFMRG) and his research is focused on forest-dependent Indigenous communities and the impacts of climate change in their traditional practices.

** In the picture, José is wearing a modern Saint Patrick’s Day hat made out of Red Cedar bark.  Weaving the bark of trees is one of the Nisga’a traditional practices that could be affected by climate change.

Recommended Reading: 

Turner, N. and Clifton, H. 2009. “It’s so different today”: Climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Global Environmental Change. 19 (2): 180-190


*For the Spring 2013 Seminar Series Schedule, go here.

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