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Human Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 529–547 | Cite as

Salal Harvester Local Ecological Knowledge, Harvest Practices and Understory Management on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington

  • Heidi L. Ballard
  • Lynn Huntsinger
Article

Abstract

Despite growing interest in traditional and local ecological knowledge for conservation and resource management, the role of migrant resource users is largely unexplored. Challenging many assumptions about what constitutes “local knowledge,” migrant and immigrant harvesters of non-timber forest products on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington possess useful ecological knowledge of overstory–understory relationships and how forestry practices affect understory biological and commercial production. Harvesters of salal (Gaultheria shallon), a shrub used in the multi-million dollar floral greens industry, were interviewed in Mason County, Washington in 2001–2003. Interviews revealed that harvesters possess different kinds of resource management knowledge depending on whether they are experienced harvesters or more recent newcomers to the area. These differences may also correlate with differences in their harvesting practices. Understanding how resource management knowledge differs between experienced and newcomer harvesters can inform forest managers in their efforts to develop effective management and permitting policies for floral greens and other non-timber forest resources in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Key words

Local ecological knowledge nontimber forest products sustainable resource management Gaultheria shallon (salal) Pacific Northwest harvest. 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am indebted to the salal harvesters who shared their time, knowledge and energy with me for many hours in the rainy PNW woods: Juan, Francisco, Marta, Ricardo, Eloina, Antonio, Juan, Patty, Bob, Leo and Rogelio. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Don Collins and Jim Freed for their never-ending knowledge and support of this work. Thank you to Louise Fortmann for her support and guidance of the research. Thank you to Adriana Sulak, Nancy Turner and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments as well.

Research for this paper was supported in part by the U.S. Community Forestry Research Fellowship Program of the Ford Foundation, the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.

I wish to thank Fikret Berkes and Nancy Turner for acceptance of an earlier version of this paper in their symposium “How does resource management knowledge develop” at the 2004 Meeting of the International Association of the Study of Common Property in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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