About Indigenous Ecology Lab​

Applying an Indigenous, relational worldview to ecological restoration.

The Indigenous Ecology Lab is part of the Belowground Ecosystems Group in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. We apply an Indigenous, relational worldview to ecological restoration. Our work is community-based and co-generated by Indigenous communities looking to heal and reclaim food systems for all relations. We work together to reclaim, revitalize, adapt, and practice traditional stewardship that offers important solutions to building resiliency into our forest ecosystems and communities. The application of an Indigenous worldview to land healing puts the focus of our work on relationships, shaping lands guided by community needs and values, and honouring the stories of the past, present and future.

Given the relational nature of an Indigenous Ecology, and commitment to serving Indigenous communities, our research areas span multiple disciplines.

plants

Ecological Restoration / Land Healing

Our land healing projects include learning more about culturally important plants and their needs to assist with successful re-establishment. This research currently focuses on plant-soil interactions, microbial ecology, traditional propagation techniques, seedbank dynamics, and seed ecophysiology.

We are also working with communities on climate-change disaster recovery including studying vegetation trajectories (invasive and culturally important plants) after wildfire and flooding and food systems recovery.

Invasive Species Management

We are working to continue to inform best management practices of priority invasive plant species in British Columbia. Our research is also focused on the legacy of invasive species on landscapes including their impacts on soils and examining how we can use that information to inform successful post-eradication recovery and prevent re-invasion.

smoking fish

Bridging Food Systems

Much of our land healing work, including invasive species management, is done under a food systems lens. We are actively working with Indigenous communities in urban and rural areas to reclaim, revitalize and adapt food systems to ensure access to culturally appropriate, healthy food that addresses issues such as vulnerability to supply chain issues, climate change, and economic opportunity. This includes bridging agrarian and traditional food systems.

Indigenized Policy Development and Land Management Decision-Making

Policy and decision-making have a significant impact on how we approach land healing and the management of natural resources. Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by the decision-making of colonial government agencies. Our research in this area is to examine how we can both decolonize and Indigenized policy and land-management decision-making approaches and processes to better honour place-based knowledge (including Indigenous knowledges) and harmonize complex multi-jurisdictional issues.