Breath of Clarity

Research Question

Degree: Environmental Policy and Management with a concentration in Natural Resource Management

I brainstormed three research questions and am open to receiving feedback about any of them.

How do the historical practices of indigenous people support restoration ecology in United States National Forest areas?

I am curious about the value aboriginal people add to natural resource management, considering they possess sacred knowledge and land management techniques. After learning about the Maori in New Zealand, I wonder whether people who have a large depth of experience specialized to a certain location can aid modern ecological restoration strategy. I completed a paper emphasizing how indigenous land knowledge is informative in terms of improving natural medicine. However, I am also interested in the potential for a skillful group of people to enhance the health of the land in itself.

How can strategies be implemented in North Carolina to improve habitats for native plants and trees?

North Carolina is a beautiful state in terms of the Blue Ridge mountains, pristine rivers and waterfalls, as well as serene hiking trails. The research questions provides me with the opportunity to simply learn which species are native to North Carolina before I move there. Considering North Carolina does not face drought and water allocation issues as severe as California, I am curious about barriers interfering with the state’s ability to preserve native biodiversity. With the diversity in landscape, I am wondering whether certain restoration ecology strategies are particularly beneficial in certain sub-climates of North Carolina. I also am interested in the local administrative limitations to natural resource management and conservation land rights already in place.

How does precipitation impact restoration ecology in United States National Forest areas?

Thank you for the support!

Comment by Michael Muehlberger:

Regarding your first topic I think that that’s a fantastic research study! It seems like you have a bit of background knowledge regarding indigenous groups, and their involvement in their lands which will definitely benefit you as you proceed with future research. The only thing I can see that might become a problem later on is that there are a lot of National Forest areas, and there are many different groups of indigenous peoples. It could potentially get confusing trying to match each group with their particular land management practices. So my advice might be to focus on either one forest area and the indigenous groups of that area, or focus on a specific indigenous tribe’s practices and views on land restoration.

With your second topic you’re also off to a great start showing your interest not only in the native plants of North Carolina, but also in trying to understand the current laws and practices already in place. You would have many great resources at your disposal if you wanted to read up on the actual laws, and there are plenty of user friendly books and guides on local plant life. Again though it could become overwhelming real quick since there are probably a ton of native plants (although I’m definitely not an expert on North Carolina plant life so I could also be wrong). Maybe hone in your focus to endangered plants/trees or maybe a specific area like the coast or forests.

These questions seem pretty cool so whichever one you decide to work on will be incredible!

My Response:

Thanks for motivating me to specify the research question!

In order to do so, I went online to look at existent information about the topic. Ultimately, I decided to select question #1 because there is already a substantial amount of literature to dive into. After seeing the sources, I noticed a lot discussed the issue in terms of the Pacific Northwest. So, I decided to revise my question to be:

How do the historical practices of indigenous people support restoration ecology in the Pacific Northwest?

I imagine I may be able to increasingly specify it as I begin to read the literature. Just from the search results, I noticed terminology widely used including Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Ethnoecology (Links to an external site.).

Here is my list of sources:–Ethnobotanical-Importance-of-Montane-Sites/10.2993/0278-0771-31.1.4.full

Elementary Outline


Literature Review

Thorough imagery depicting the Klamath river

Geography: Where does it start and end? What is its width? What is the water volume?

Ecosystem: What wildlife and plants exist at the river? How do humans impact the ecosystem? What nature preserves and towns surround it? Other Characteristics

Environmental degradation that has occurred thus far

Overview of the indigenous populations who contributed to the space’s restoration

Historical background of all the tribes involved

What are the essential principles of indigenous philosophy applicable to the space’s ecological issues?

Explanation of completed projects or ongoing collaborations between indigenous people & other groups
Examples from the Klamath river

Examples from other locations



Proposed Results

Recommendations of indigenous techniques to further improve the Klamath river’s condition