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Achievements in Aboriginal Forestry Research: Claims, Evidence and Opportunities

Palaschuk, Nicholas, Bullock, Ryan C. L.
Small-scale forestry 2019 v.18 no.2 pp. 213-234
cooperative research, forest conservation, indigenous knowledge, indigenous peoples, issues and policy, sustainable forestry
Aboriginal involvement is now a defining theme for achieving Sustainable Forest Management. Concurrently, the concept of “Aboriginal forestry” has emerged to promote links between Traditional Knowledge and conventional forest management, aimed at strengthening the conservation of culturally and ecologically sensitive species. We conducted a systematic analysis to assess the current state of Aboriginal forestry research, illustrate trends and gaps in research output, and to provide additional information to guide future research. Three prominent claims regarding research trends were analyzed, namely that there has been (1) growth in the use of the term ‘Aboriginal forestry’, (2) growth in collaborative research “with” versus “on” Aboriginal peoples, and (3) growth in research and awareness of Aboriginal natural resource management issues. From the analysis of 110 articles (1994–2015), we confirmed that ‘Aboriginal forestry’ and related thematic terms are being used more frequently. Research collaboration with Aboriginal peoples has also increased as indicated by increases in research term representation and acknowledgement of direct participation in the research process. As Aboriginal forestry research has expanded, so too has attention to related issues, as corroborated by increases in the number of journal articles published, journal diversity, authorship and institutional diversity, and keyword/thematic diversity. This analysis establishes characteristic themes (e.g., growth in the usage of “Aboriginal forestry” as a research field; research being done “with” versus “on” Aboriginal communities; growing awareness around issues in Aboriginal forestry policy and practice) and trends (e.g., affiliation; authorship; journal title; keyword) that characterise Aboriginal forestry research as a burgeoning field connected to forest conservation and management.