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Understanding climate change trends on Tribal reservations

Date: October 14, 2016

Station scientists are working with Native American Tribes to understand how Tribal members and resource managers perceive forecasted climate change effects on landscapes that Tribes have been dependent upon for generations


The Rocky Mountain Research Station is a partner in helping to protect or restore relationships between residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Mission Mountain landscape.
The Rocky Mountain Research Station is a partner in helping to protect or restore relationships between residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Mission Mountain landscape.
The Rocky Mountain Research Station, in partnership with the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of Montana, the University of Leeds, UK, and the University of Montana, are working together to protect or restore relationships between residents of the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Mission Mountain landscape within the reservation. Recent studies have focused on defining Tribal forestry research priorities and how the relationships Tribal members have with the landscape influence public attitudes towards CSKT forestry tactics and policies regarding the maintenance of ecosystem health through vegetation and fire management. Current focus is on how reservation residents and Tribal resource managers perceive forecasted climate change trends concerning elements of the landscape that the Tribe has been dependent upon for generations, such as water, wildlife, vegetation, aesthetics, and traditional landscapes.

This research increases the potential for protecting environmental and human well-being for future populations of people living on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. It also provides a foundation for creative approaches to addressing ecosystem health on the larger landscape, and paves the way for more collaborative work between the CSKT and the Forest Service. Future research will focus on exploring the role of forecasted climate change effects on water and fire adaptability of current species.

The CSKT released their Climate Change Strategic Plan in 2013. The plan's purpose is to improve the Tribal community and Natural Resources resiliency by effectively informing climate change impact planning decisions made by the Tribes. It was designed to initiate collectively beneficial climate change impact mitigation and adaptation solutions.

Featured Publications

Watson, Alan E. ; Stumpff, Linda Moon ; Meidinger, Jennifer , 2012
Carver, Steve ; Watson, Alan E. ; Waters, Tim ; Matt, Roian ; Gunderson, Kari ; Davis, Brett , 2009
Watson, Alan E. ; Matt, Roian ; Waters, Tim ; Gunderson, Kari ; Carver, Steve ; Davis, Brett , 2009


Principal Investigators: 
Forest Service Partners: 
Brett Davis, RMRS, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
External Partners: 
Steve Carver, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Roian Matt, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Tim Waters, The University of Leeds
Kari Gunderson, The University of Montana