Climatic Change

, Volume 120, Issue 3, pp 615–626 | Cite as

Cultural impacts to tribes from climate change influences on forests

  • Garrit Voggesser
  • Kathy LynnEmail author
  • John Daigle
  • Frank K. Lake
  • Darren Ranco


Climate change related impacts, such as increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, higher temperatures, extreme changes to ecosystem processes, forest conversion and habitat degradation are threatening tribal access to valued resources. Climate change is and will affect the quantity and quality of resources tribes depend upon to perpetuate their cultures and livelihoods. Climate impacts on forests are expected to directly affect culturally important fungi, plant and animal species, in turn affecting tribal sovereignty, culture, and economy. This article examines the climate impacts on forests and the resulting effects on tribal cultures and resources. To understand potential adaptive strategies to climate change, the article also explores traditional ecological knowledge and historical tribal adaptive approaches in resource management, and contemporary examples of research and tribal practices related to forestry, invasive species, traditional use of fire and tribal-federal coordination on resource management projects. The article concludes by summarizing tribal adaptive strategies to climate change and considerations for strengthening the federal-tribal relationship to address climate change impacts to forests and tribal valued resources.


Invasive Species Climate Change Impact Fire Regime Traditional Ecological Knowledge National Park Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Andreu-Hayles L, D’Arrigo R, Anchukaitis K, Beck P, Frank D, Goetz S (2011) Varying boreal forest response to Arctic environmental change at the Firth River, Alaska. Environ Res Lett 6:045503. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045503 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bentz BJ, Regniere J, Fettig CJ, Hansen EM, Hayes JL, Hicke JA, Kelsey RG, Negron JF, Seybold SJ (2010) Climate change and bark beetles of the Western United States and Canada: direct and indirect effects. BioScience 60:602–613. doi: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.8.6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkes F (2009) Indigenous ways of knowing and the study of environmental change. J R Soc N Z 39:151–156. doi: 10.1080/03014220909510568 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bliss J, Aplet G, Hartzell C, Harwood P, Jahnige P, Kittredge D, Lewandowski S, Soscia ML (2001) Community-based ecosystem monitoring. J Sustain For 12:143–167. doi: 10.1300/J091v12n03_07 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley A (2012) Jemez Mountains climate change adaptation project. The Nature Conservancy. Briefing paper. Accessed 20 January 2013
  6. Cohen S, Miller K (eds) (2001) Chapter 15– North America. In: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate change 2001: impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation. United Nations and World Meteorological Organization, Geneva. Accessed 12 November 2012
  7. Cordalis D, Suaģee DB (2008) The effects of climate change on American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. Nat Resour Environ 22:45–49Google Scholar
  8. Daigle JJ, Putnam D (2009) The meaning of a changed environment: initial assessment of climate change impacts in Maine—indigenous peoples. In: Jacobson GL, Fernandez IJ, Mayewski PA, Schmitt CV (eds) Maine’s climate future: an initial assessment. University of Maine, Orono, pp 35–38Google Scholar
  9. Dale VH, Joyce LA, McNulty S, Neilson RP, Ayres MW, Flanningan MD, Hanson PJ, Irland LC, Lugo AF, Peterson CJ, Simberloff D, Swanson FJ, Stocks BJ, Wotton BM (2001) Climate change and forest disturbances. BioScience 51:723–734. doi: 10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0723:CCAFD]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeSantis RD, Hallgren SW, Stahle DW (2010) Historic fire regime of an upland oak forest in South-Central North America. Fire Ecol 6:45–61. doi: 10.4996/fireecology.0603045 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeVos JC Jr., McKinney T (2007) Potential impacts of global climate change on abundance and distribution of elk and mule deer in Western North America. Final report to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Accessed 12 November 2012
  12. Dukes JS, Pontius J, Orwig D, Garnas JR, Rodgers VL, Brazee N, Cooke B, Theoharides KA, Stange EE, Harrington R, Ehrefeld J, Gurevitch J, Lerdau M, Stinson K, Wick R, Ayres M (2009) Responses of insect pests, pathogens, and invasive plant species to climate change in the forests of northeastern North America: what can we predict? Can J For Res 39:231–248. doi: 10.1139/X08-171 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falk DA, Heyerdahl EK, Brown PM, Farris C, Fulé PZ, McKenzie D, Swetnam TW, Taylor AH, Van Horne ML (2011) Multi-scale controls of historical forest-fire regimes: new insights form fire-scar networks. Front Ecol Environ 9:446–454. doi: 10.1890/100052 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fernandez-Gimenez ME, Ballard HL, Sturtevant VE (2008) Adaptive management and social learning in collaborative and community-based monitoring: a study of five community-based forestry organizations in the western USA. Ecol Soc 13:1–22Google Scholar
  15. Flannigan MD, Amiro BD, Logan KA, Stocks BJ, Wotton BM (2005) Forest fires and climate change in the 21st century. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 11:847–859. doi: 10.1007/s11027-005-9020-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frankel SJ, Kliejunas JT, Palmieri KM (eds) (2008) Proceedings of the sudden oak death third science symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-214. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. p. 491Google Scholar
  17. Garibaldi A, Turner N (2004) Cultural keystone species: implications for ecological conservation and restoration. Ecol Soc 9:1–18Google Scholar
  18. Gedalof Z (2011) Climate and spatial patterns of wildfire in North America. In: McKenzie D, Miller C, Falk DA (eds) The landscape ecology of fire. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 89–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grossman Z (2008) Indigenous nations’ responses to climate change. Am Indian Cult Res J 32:5–27Google Scholar
  20. Harris G (ed) (2011) Northwest forest plan—the first 15 years [1994–2008]: effectiveness of the federal-tribal relationship. Tech. Paper R6-RPM-TP-01-2011. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  21. Hicke J, Johnson MC, Hayes J, Preisler HK (2012) Effects of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on wildfire. For Ecol Manag 271:81–90. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.02.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hoene N (2010) Climate change, an Ojibwe perspective. Minnesota Sea Grant. Accessed 16 October 2012
  23. Holmes KA, Veblen KE, Young TP, Berry AM (2008) California oaks and fire: a review and case study. In: Merenlender A, McCreary D, Purcell KL (eds) Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today’s challenges, tomorrow’s opportunities. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Redding, CA (PSW-GTR-217), pp 551–565Google Scholar
  24. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) (2011) Athabascan tribal profile. Accessed 9 December 2011.
  25. Jenni, K, Mahaffy M, Mankowski J (2012) Draft NPLCC Strategy for science and traditional ecological knowledge 2013–2016. Accessed 15 January 2013.
  26. Jones K, Poole G, Quaempts EJ, O’Daniel S, Beechie T (2008) Umatilla river vision. Accessed 14 November 2012
  27. Kofinas GP, Chapin FS III, Burn Silver S, Schmidt JI, Fresco NL, Kielland K, Martin S, Springsteen A, Rupp TS (2010) Resilience of Athabascan subsistence systems to interior Alaska’s changing climate. Can J For Res 40:1347–1359. doi: 10.1139/X10-108 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kovacs KF, Haight RG, McCullough DG, Mercader RJ, Siegert NW, Liebhold AM (2010) Cost of potential emerald ash borer damage in US communities, 2009–2019. Ecol Econ 69:569–578. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.09.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krakoff S (2008) American Indians, climate change, and ethics for a warming world. Denver Univ Law Rev 85:865Google Scholar
  30. Kueppers LM, Snyder MA, Sloan LC, Zavaleta ES, Fulfrost B (2005) Modeled regional climate change and California endemic oak ranges. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102:16281–16286. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0501427102 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lynn K, Daigle J, Hoffman J, Lake F, Michelle N, Ranco D, Viles C, Voggesser G, Williams P (2013) The impacts of climate change on tribal traditional foods. Climatic Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0736-1
  32. Mason L, White G, Morishima G, Alvarado E, Andrew L, Clark F, Durglo M, Durglo J, Eneas J, Erickson J (2012) Listening and learning from traditional knowledge and Western science: a dialogue on contemporary challenges of forest health and wildfire. J For 110:187–193Google Scholar
  33. McKenney-Easterling M, DeWalle DR, Iverson LR, Prasad AM, Buda AR (2000) The potential impacts of climate change and variability on forests and forestry in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Clim Res 14:195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McPherson BA, Mori SR, Wood DL, Kelly M, Storer AJ, Svihra P, Standiford RB (2010) Responses of oaks and tanoaks to the sudden oak death pathogen after 8 y of monitoring in two coastal California forests. For Ecol Manag 259:2248–2255. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.02.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moritz MA, Hessburg PF, Povak NA (2011) Native fire regimes and landscape resilience. In: McKenzie D, Miller C, Falk DA (eds) The landscape ecology of fire. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 51–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moritz MA, Parisien MA, Batllori E, Krawchuk E, Van Dorn J, Ganz DJ, Hayhoe K (2012) Climate change and disruptions to global fire activity. Ecosphere 3:49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moss ML, Peteet DM, Whitlock C (2007) Chapter 14– Mid-Holocene culture and climate on the Northwest Coast of North America. In: Anderson DG, Maasch KA, Sandweiss DH (eds) Climate change and cultural dynamics: a global perspective on Mid-Holocene transitions. Elsevier Inc, Amsterdam, pp 491–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mote PW, Parson EA, Hamlet AF, Keeton WS, Lettenmaier D, Mantua N, Miles EL, Peterson DW, Peterson DL, Slaughter R, Snover AK (2003) Preparing for climate change: the water, salmon, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Clim Chang 61:45–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. National Wildlife Federation (NWF) (2011) Facing the storm: Indian tribes, climate-induced weather extremes, and the future for Indian country. Accessed 12 November 2012
  40. Nowacki GJ, MacCleery DW, Lake FK (2012) Native Americans, ecosystem development, and historical range of variation. In: Wiens JA, Hayward GD, Safford HD, Giffen CM (eds) Historical environmental variation in conservation and natural resource management. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, pp 76–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ortiz BR (2008) Contemporary California Indians, oaks and Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum). In: Merenlender A, McCreary D, Purcell KL, (tech. eds) Proceedings of the sixth California oak symposium: today’s challenges, tomorrow’s opportunities. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-217. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, pp 39–56Google Scholar
  42. Parker A, Grossman Z, Whitesell E, Stephenson B, Williams T, Hardison P, Ballew L, Burnham B, Bushnell J, Klosterman R (2006) Climate change and Pacific Rim Nations. Evergreen State College, WA: Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute. Accessed 12 November 2012
  43. Pérez-Ramos IM, Ourcival JM, Limousin JM, Rambal S (2010) Mast seeding under increasing drought; results from a long-term data set and from a rainfall exclusion experiment. Ecology 91:3057–3068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Perry DA, Hessburg PF, Skinner CN, Spies TA, Stephens SL, Taylor AH, Franklin JF, McComb B, Riegel G (2011) The ecology of mixed severity fire regimes in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. For Ecol Manag 262:703–717. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.05.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pfeiffer J, Voeks R (2008) Biological invasions and biocultural diversity: linking ecological and cultural systems. Environ Conserv 35:281–293. doi: 10.1017/S0376892908005146 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ranco R, Arnett A, Latty E, Remsburg A, Dunckel K, Quigley E, Lilieholm R, Daigle J, Livingston B, Neptune J, Secord T (2012) Two Maine forest pests: a comparison of approaches to understanding threats to hemlock and ash trees in Maine. Maine Policy Rev 21:76–89Google Scholar
  47. Reo NJ (2010) Ecological and human dimensions of tribal and state natural resource management. Dissertation, Michigan State University, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  48. Rose KA (2010) Tribal climate change adaptation options: a review of the scientific literature. Seattle, WA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10. Accessed 20 January 2013
  49. Ryan MG, Archer SR, Birdsey R, Dahm C, Heath L, Hicke J, Hollinger D, Huxman T, Okin G, Oren R, Randerson J, and Schlesinger W (2008) Land Resources. In: U.S. Climate Change Science Program. The effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity in the United States. Accessed 20 January 2013
  50. Salick J, Byg A (eds) (2007) Indigenous peoples and climate change. Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, Oxford Accessed 12 November 2012
  51. Seppälä R, Buck A, Katila P (eds) (2009) Adaptation of forests and people to climate change– a global assessment report. IUFRO World Series Volume 22. Accessed 20 January 2013
  52. Speer JH, Grissino-Mayer HD, Orvis KH, Greenberg CH (2009) Climate response of five oak species in the eastern deciduous forest of the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Can J For Res 39:507–518. doi: 10.1139/X08-194 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. First Stewards Symposium (First Stewards) (2012). Accessed 12 November 2012
  54. Stewart OC (2002) Forgotten fires: Native Americans and the transient wilderness. University of Oklahoma Press, NormanGoogle Scholar
  55. Sturrock RN, Frankel SJ, Brown AV, Hennon PE, Kliejunas JT, Lewis KJ, Worrall JJ, Woods AJ (2011) Climate change and forest diseases. Plant Pathol 60:133–149. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2010.02406.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (Swinomish) (2010) Swinomish adaption action plan. La Conner, WA: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Accessed 12 November 2012
  57. Tillmann P, Siemann, D (2012) Advancing landscape-scale conservation: an assessment of climate change-related challenges, needs, and opportunities for the North Pacific landscape conservation cooperative. National Wildlife Federation – Pacific Region, Seattle, WAGoogle Scholar
  58. Trainor S, Chapin S, McGuire A, Calef M, Fresco N, Kwart M, Duffy P, Lovecraft A, Rupp T, DeWilde L, Huntington O, Natcher D (2009) Vulnerability and adaptation to climate-related fire impacts in rural and urban interior Alaska. Polar Res 28:100–118. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-8369.2009.00101.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tribal Science Council (2011) Integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in environmental science, policy and decision-making. Accessed 20 January 2013
  60. Trosper RL, Clark F, Gerez-Fernandez, Lake F, McGregor D, Peters CM, Purata S, Ryan T, Thomson A, Watson AE, Wyatt S (2012) Chapter 5– North America. In: Parrotta JA, Trosper RL (eds) Traditional forest-related knowledge: sustaining communities, ecosystems and biocultural diversity, vol 12, World Forest Series. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  61. Turner N, Clifton H (2007) ‘It’s so different today:’ climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Presentation at Environmental Change Institute, Oxford Accessed 12 November 2012
  62. Valachovic YS, Lee CA, Scanlon H, Varner JM, Glebocki R, Graham BD, Rizzo DM (2011) Sudden oak death-caused changes to surface fuel loading and potential fire behavior in Douglas-fir-tanoak forests. For Ecol Manag 261:1973–1986. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.02.024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams GW (2002) Aboriginal use of fire: are there any “natural” plant communities? In: Kay CE, Randy TS (eds) Wilderness and political ecology: aboriginal land management–myths and reality. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake CityGoogle Scholar
  64. Wondolleck JM, Yaffee SL (2003) Collaborative ecosystem planning processes in the United States: evolution and challenges. Environ 31:59–72Google Scholar
  65. Wotkyns S (2010) Tribal climate change efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Northern Arizona University. Accessed 16 October 2012
  66. Whyte K (2013) Justice forward: tribes, climate adaptation and responsibility in Indian country. Climatic Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0743-2

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garrit Voggesser
    • 1
  • Kathy Lynn
    • 2
    Email author
  • John Daigle
    • 3
  • Frank K. Lake
    • 4
  • Darren Ranco
    • 5
  1. 1.Tribal Partnerships Program, National Wildlife FederationBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies ProgramUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  3. 3.School of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  4. 4.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research StationReddingUSA
  5. 5.Native American Research, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

Personalised recommendations