Doctor of Philosophy in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (PhD)
Decolonizing Palates: Food Security Strengthening through underutilized vegetables revitalization in the Mayan Region of Chiapas, Mexico
Dr. Bulkan has gone and above beyond to support me in my research. She's also been supportive in releasing funds for my professional development and providing references for my scholarship/internship applications as well as opportunities to develop essential research skills.
Dr. Janette Bulkan is a #GreatSupervisor because of her support and guidance since resuming my MSc program in September, 2017. The many moments of interactions with her both personally and during classes has increased my passion to research on issues in community forestry and governance system in the natural resource management. She's a leading scholar in this field with many colleagues and collaborators globally. Thanks to Janette for supervising my Master's degree.
Suriname is highly forested and inhabited by Indigenous peoples who are dependent on a diverse range of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) for their subsistence and income. NTFP knowledge is decreasing due to fragmented knowledge transmission. The NTFP-containing forests are also of interest to multinational extractive companies. Without co-managed governance and weak tenure security, livelihoods and biodiversity can become jeopardised. This thesis focuses on two Indigenous communities that vary in forest-dependency and exposure to urbanisation. Children’s ethnobotanical knowledge is compared to determine causes of ethnobotanical knowledge losses. In addition, land tenure regimes are assessed and ecological impacts from NTFP harvests are determined.Voucher specimens were collected and ethnobotanical data were obtained from informants. Questionnaires were used to elicit and record children’s ethnobotanical knowledge and that of NTFP gatherers to define important NTFP species. Market surveys were held to determine commercial NTFPs.It was shown that school attendance and the limited time spent in forests disrupt the acquisition of ethnobotanical knowledge by children. At the same time, acculturation can lead to cross-cultural knowledge exchange, strengthening the communities’ knowledge about NTFPs. The research further demonstrated that the uses of commercial and food NTFPs were known prior to the acquisition of knowledge of plant names, confirming that ethnobotanical knowledge acquisition at a young age happens through observation.Ecological risks from overharvesting seeds from vegetal NTFPs included trophic cascades: population declines of targeted species and animals that feed on them. For the commercially most traded animals, a decrease in abundancy was noticed as a result of increased local and non-local demands. Because of a sudden high global demand for Potamotrygon boesemani, stocks of this endemic stingray are imperilled. NTFP gathering largely happened outside the communities’ communal forest on State lands under active or proposed logging concessions.Traditional NTFP practices should be safeguarded by protecting gathering sites and targeted species. Strengthening of Indigenous with government co-management is needed for effective forest governance. Moreover, long-term research is desirable on current NTFP stocks and the impacts of NTFP harvesting on target species and their ecosystem. An immediate moratorium on P. boesemani is required to prevent this species from further collapse or potential extinction.
Following the Calder Decision in 1970, subsequent legal rulings in Canada have defined the government’s duty to recognize First Nations’ pre-existing rights to their Traditional Territory, undermining the racist discovery doctrine and terra nullius arguments of the Crown’s claim to radical title to the Province of British Columbia. In doing so, the courts have declared the importance of First Nation historical research, specifically Oral History evidence, in demonstrating Aboriginal Rights and Title. With this, an industry of consultants and academics has arisen to aid in the collection of place-based Traditional Knowledge held and protected by community members. Employing scientific rigor and GIS, various studies documenting land use, occupancy, and Traditional Knowledge have proven to be effective means of resistance for First Nations by securing vital concessions of revenue and management authority from the Province. Yet, these studies are vulnerable to reproducing essentialist images of First Nation culture and have limited utility on their own in Aboriginal Title litigation. This thesis seeks to demonstrate how recent legal accommodations by the Canadian Courts and secure Web 2.0 technologies open space for the deployment of First Nation-led participatory research for both Aboriginal Title litigation and cultural revitalization efforts. The need for this research was identified via a community-based research approach focusing on experiential learning and dialogue with Elders from two communities of the St‘át‘imc Nation and interviews with experts in the field. The application of community-led participatory research more directly addresses the barriers to research and compromises in representation made for efficacy of the current research paradigm. By allowing for the production of research outputs that expand the reach of community voices to promote understanding and empathy in their own communities and settler society, community-led participatory research can ultimately result in greater space for First Nation self-definition and determination. Therefore, First Nation research strategies should supplement quantitative land use studies with long-term participatory research projects more appropriate for addressing the dualism of First Nation Self-determination - external decolonization and internal cultural revitalization.
Aboriginal groups are still developing recognition of their rights, title and capacity to co-manage their forestland. Provincially there are a number of changes in legislation and regulation that affect Aboriginal groups, particularly in the area of climate change. Aboriginal groups that are actively negotiating their legal rights need to integrate the discussion of climate change, particularly in the area of forests with their evolving legal rights. Aboriginal groups have been proactive in British Columbia but there are many critical gaps that should be explored. My objectives are to identify the key cultural, social, environmental and economic criteria of five selected Aboriginal groups in British Columbia for forest carbon offset projects, to assess their awareness and to identify their key preferences in forest carbon agreements. I travelled to five Aboriginal communities where I conducted twenty individual interviews in total to collect the qualitative data to support my research objectives. Results showed all five selected Aboriginal groups are struggling with balancing economic and environmental values for managing their forests. Cultural, social, and environmental values were closely related to each other and were preferred over economic values. However, there was recognition of the importance of generating revenue and creating employment from forest resources. The five selected Aboriginal groups in this study are at different stages of looking at carbon offsets as a new, potential forestry activity to add to their economic development portfolios. Approximately half of the Aboriginal groups in this study have a low awareness of basic carbon terminology. There was no consensus across the five Aboriginal groups for preferences for carbon project types, acceptable forest stand tending techniques and contractual arrangements, except for a high group-to-group consensus across the five Aboriginal groups on a renewable type of carbon contractual arrangement.