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Cultural impacts to tribes from climate change influences on forests

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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.

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Correspondence to Kathy Lynn.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on "Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences, and Actions" edited by Julie Koppel Maldonado, Rajul E. Pandya, and Benedict J. Colombi.

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Voggesser, G., Lynn, K., Daigle, J. et al. Cultural impacts to tribes from climate change influences on forests. Climatic Change 120, 615–626 (2013).

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