Within the ancestral homelands of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the Fire Continuum Conference (May 2018) discussed the complexity of wildland fire and fuels research and management. The CSKT fieldtrip took place on the Flathead Reservation (figure 1), about 20 miles north of Missoula, and the presenters addressed many facets of the fire continuum and the CSKT’s novel approach towards addressing the complexity challenge. Approximately 53 people, from a variety of different countries, states, and backgrounds, attended the field trip which made for a great opportunity for shared learning and networking. Serra Hoagland, Liaison Officer (Biologist), Rocky Mountain Research Station, was the facilitator for the field trip.
Some key take-away points from the field trip:
- The management plan follows an ecosystem-based approach that is defined in the plan as, “the integrated use of ecological knowledge at various scales to produce desired resource values, products, services, and conditions in ways that also sustain diversity and productivity of ecosystems. This approach blends physical, biological, cultural, and social needs” (CSKT 2000).
- Management, such as timber removal, is designed to mimic natural disturbance.
- Natural fire and indigenous fire have had a significant impact on the CSKT landscape for thousands of years.
- Cultural ideology of the CSKT is incorporated into all facets of management.
- Combining TEK and western science is the best way to address resource management issues today.
- The land is being managed to help and heal the people. Tribe and future generations come first.