The Use of Biodiversity for Responding to Globalised Change.
Davidson-Hunt, I.J., Asselin, H., Berkes, F., Brown, K., Idrobo, C.J., Jones, M.A., McConney, P., O’Flaherty, R.M., Robson, J.P., and Rodriguez, M. In: Davidson-Hunt, I.J., Suich, H., Meijer, S.S. and Olsen, N. (eds.). 2016. People in Nature: Valuing the Diversity of Interrelationships between People and Nature, pp. 19–31. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Available Online

This chapter examines the potential role of nature in enabling rural and remote communities to respond to socio-economic opportunities and stresses in a context of global environmental change and integration. Working with resilience theory, the paper presents a framework for analysing and understanding how individuals and groups respond to change, how natural resources are managed during periods of change, and whether social and ecological sustainability are promoted as people pursue development strategies.

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Anishinaabe Stewardship Values for Sustainable Forest Management of the Whitefeather Forest, Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario.
O’Flaherty, R.M., I.J. Davidson-Hunt and A.M. Miller. 2009. In Changing the Culture of Forestry in Canada, M.G. Stevenson and D.C. Natcher (eds.). Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press, Edmonton, pp.19–34. Available Online

Bringing indigenous knowledge into forest management planning requires accommodating how people understand and relate to the natural world of which they are an integral part. For Anishinaabeg of Pikangikum First Nation, Ontario, categories of being and responsibilities towards other beings are significantly different from conventional science-based approaches. Future forest harvesting in the Whitefeather Forest is expected to adopt Pikangikum people’s customary stewardship approach based on non-interference and collaboration, in order to achieve a sustainable social enterprise.

This book is the first of two volumes that highlights current research undertaken to address the needs, rights and interests of forest-dependent Aboriginal communities, and to help develop the knowledge and skill sets needed to reform forest and resource development.

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Indigenous Knowledge and Values in Planning for sustainable Forestry: Pikangikum First Nation and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative.
O’Flaherty, R.M., I.J. Davidson-Hunt & M. Manseau. 2008. Ecology and Society 13(1): 6. Available Online

Although still posing challenges, science-based knowledge (including interdisciplinary work) is leading current forest-management planning. How then can indigenous communities mobilize their own knowledge to support their desire to develop new ways of managing the forest? In northern Ontario, the provincial government has developed a cross-scale planning approach that allocates certain responsibilities to First Nations in order to support their vision and knowledge, yet at the same time addresses provincial planning goals. Within this context, research on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) was conducted in collaboration with Pikangikum First Nation to support their participation in forest-management planning. The outcomes of this research are used as a focal point for discussing some of the stressors that influence cross-scale planning for forestry in northern Ontario. The paper concludes that resolving cultural differences in a forest-management planning context is not entirely necessary to move forward with collaborative planning for the conservation of woodland caribou habitat.

Key Words: Cross-cultural research; indigenous knowledge; northwestern Ontario; woodland caribou

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Keeping Woodland Caribou (Ahtik) in the Whitefeather Forest.
O’Flaherty, R.M., I.J. Davidson-Hunt & M. Manseau, 2007. Sustainable Forest Management Network research note #27, 2007. Available Online.

This brief research note outlines how the Pikangikum customary stewardship approach of “Keeping the Land” provides the foundation for woodland caribou habitat conservation in the Whitefeather Forest. Pikangikum elders identified a range of sites used by ahtik, including winter feeding areas, spring migration trails, summer calving areas and fall rutting grounds. In addition to such spatial data, there are a number of important teachings Pikangikum elders provided that reflect their unique approach to sustaining human/caribou relationships. Recommendations from the elders include the need to define areas important to ahtik according to their ecological characteristics (i.e. as caribou habitat), rather than by their specific geographic locations on the land (e.g., as parks). A holistic approach is needed to preserve the complexity and dynamism of the Whitefeather Forest mosaic as a whole, rather than simply preserving specific patches of the current forest that are identified as “critical habitat”.

Key Words: Applied research, Canada, First Nations, Indigenous peoples, woodland caribou

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Researchers, Indigenous Peoples and Place-based Learning Communities.
O’Flaherty, R.M. & I.J. Davidson-Hunt. Society and Natural Resources, Journal of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources, 20(4): 291–305 (2007). Available Online (requires subscription with Routledge).

Abstract Relations between external researchers and indigenous communities have been increasingly strained by differences in understanding and in expectation about the relevance of research. In the field of resource management, the potential for conflict over research is increased by the politics surrounding control over the resource management decision making processes. In this paper, we propose the creation of dialogic networks that engage researchers and indigenous people as collaborators in a process of knowledge production. Such an applied research process can produce context-specific knowledge networks that support management and planning decisions by indigenous people; these networks we refer to as Place-based Learning Communities. We present a researcher’s perspective on this approach through our experience with the Shoal Lake Resource Institute of Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation located in northwestern Ontario.

Key Words: Applied research, Canada, First Nations, Indigenous peoples, new research approaches

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The Whitefeather Forest Initiative: Indigenous Wisdom Guiding a New Community Forestry Opportunity in the Boreal Forest of Canada.
Andrew Chapeskie (Taiga Institute), Michael O’Flaherty (Taiga Institute), Alex Peters (Whitefeather Forest Management Corporation, Pikangikum First Nation) & Norman Quill (Pikangikum First Nation), 2005. In H. YoungBear-Tibbetts, W. Van Lopik and K. Hall (Eds.) Sharing Indigenous Wisdom: An International Dialogue on Sustainable Development, pp. 7–37. Menominee, Wisconsin: College of Menominee Nation Press. Available Online

The northern boreal forest in Canada is a unique landscape characterised by an expansive intact forest, a resident indigenous majority and continuity of indigenous forest-based cultures. With a rapidly rising indigenous population and an international environmental concern focused on the boreal forest, the political dynamics of this landscape have recently changed. These changes have given First Nations in the northern boreal region in Ontario leverage to influence and lead developments supporting their cultural survival, including their economic well-being. Pikangikum First Nation is a remote (fly-in) Ojibway community in Northwestern Ontario deeply affected by the collapse of the northern fur economy and social problems that resulted from the loss of aboriginal economic self-sufficiency. However, in 1996 Pikangikum First Nation began to pursue a vision for sustainable tribal forestry within a 1.3 million hectare Planning Area located in their Traditional Territories. The Whitefeather Forest Initiative has the potential to present a model of a tribal enterprise approach that generates best ecological practices for new resource uses in the boreal forest region of Northern Canada.

Key Words: indigenous peoples, community economic development, cultural landscapes, Ontario, Canada

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The Tragedy of Property: Ecology and Land Tenure in Southeastern Zimbabwe.
R.M. O’Flaherty, 2003. Human Organization, Journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology, 62(2) Summer 2003: 178-190.

The approach to land management taken by Zimbabwean government agencies in the Communal Areas (the former African Reserves) depends on social and ecological divisions in the landscape that prevent effective ecosystem management — as opposed to the management of discrete natural resources contained within units of land holding and land-use. The commons systems maintained by rural Zimbabweans are important to understand both because they have supported people in the face of highly discriminatory legislation, notably in the colonial period, but also because they provide for access to a wider range of resources than would be possible under a freehold system. The commons system holds the potential for more effective ecosystem management, at least in the case study explored in southeastern Zimbabwe.

Key Words: Land Tenure, Common Property, Zimbabwe

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Living On the Edge: Ecological and Cultural Edges as Sources of Diversity for Social-Ecological Resilience.
Nancy J. Turner (School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria), Iain J. Davidson-Hunt(Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba) & R. Michael O’Flaherty (Taiga Institute), 2003. Human Ecology, 31(3), September 2003: 439–461.

A well-known facet of ecosystems is that the edges – the boundaries or transitions from one ecosystem to another – often exhibit high levels of species richness or biodiversity. These transitional areas often show features of species composition, structure and function representative of the ecosystems they transcend, as well as having their own unique array of species and characteristics. Cultural transitional areas – zones where two or more cultures converge and interact – are similarly rich and diverse in cultural traits, exhibiting cultural and linguistic features of each of the contributing peoples. This results in an increase in cultural capital, and resilience, by providing a wider range of traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom on which to draw, especially in times of stress and change.
We also propose that indigenous peoples whose living territories traverse ecological edges have a correspondingly increased access to economically important resources and therefore have a greater capacity for flexibility. Finally, we suggest that indigenous peoples are drawn to areas having a high incidence of ecological edges, and furthermore, that they actively create and maintain ecological edges. This practice provides them with a greater diversity of cultural capital and helps to maintain their flexibility and resilience. Examples from several regions of Canada are provided, from the Southern Interior of British Columbia, to the Lake Winnipeg watershed of Manitoba and Ontario, to James Bay.

Key Words: cultural diversity; biodiversity; resilience; traditional ecological knowledge; indigenous peoples

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Ecological Agriculture: Situating the Garden in Anthropology.
R.M. O’Flaherty (Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Mount Allison University), 2000. Culture and Agriculture, Journal of the Culture and Agriculture Section of the American Anthropological Association, 22(2):16–26. Available Online

While the traditional anthropological distinction made between “horticulture” and “agriculture” is made on the basis of cultivation technology a more profitable set of contrasts can be made using ecological criteria. Farming systems conventionally referred to as forms of horticulture are here termed forms of ecological agriculture in that they seek to work with and to varying extents mimic the natural ecology. Ecological agriculture is contrasted with farming systems that seek to more dramatically redesign local ecosystems, maintaining more permanent sites of ecological disturbance that require greater and more constant levels of human intervention to maintain. This ecological contrast is illustrated with a case material from Zimbabwe.

Key Words: agriculture, horticulture, agroecosystems, ecology, Zimbabwe

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Communal Tenure in Zimbabwe: Divergent Models of Collective Land Holding in the Communal Areas.
R.M. O’Flaherty, 1998. Africa, Journal of the International African Institute, 68(4): 537–557.

This article discusses the historical construction of land tenure patterns in the Communal Areas of Zimbabwe, previously the Reserves of colonial Rhodesia. In many respects the form of communal tenure found in the Communal Areas today emerged during the early colonial period. While being glossed as `traditional’, communal tenure is a contradictory amalgam of local, regional and state initiatives. The discussion outlines the historical development of present tenure relations in the Communal Areas, reviews their multiple sources of legitimacy and suggests that common property regimes in Zimbabwe are not simply the artefact of colonial indirect rule.

Key Words: Common Property, Communal Tenure, Zimbabwe

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