The Peoples’ Forest: Emerging Strategies on the Mescalero Apache Forest Reserves

Authors: Linda Moon Stumpff

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, Native American Studies

Themes: Community Development

Tribes: Mescalero Apache

This case raises questions about how American Indian Tribes reshape the care of forests on Indian lands by coordinating science-based forestry methodology and traditional ecological knowledge to meet their goals. Working the case, students are challenged to look for ways that the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe, its membership, and its partners can reach beyond seemingly conflicting economic and restoration goals to apply forestry science and traditional ecological knowledge in restoration efforts. Can forestry science’s existing predictive formulae be used to achieve tribal goals, or will new scientific research need to coordinate with traditional ecological knowledge to achieve these goals? Prescribed fire and thinning are important tools for meeting today’s challenging conditions, intensified by drought and climate change. Within the context of the case, natural resource activities are connected to legal, scientific, cultural, economic, and policy considerations. Currently decisions are made to achieve cultural and ecological restoration in a perfect storm of high fire danger, climate change, global economics and lowered timber harvests.