This article explores the generation, transmission and nature of ecological knowledge used by tribal and nontribal natural resource management agency personnel who collectively manage a 666,542-acre forest in northern Minnesota. Using key informant interviews and an adapted grounded theory analysis, we documented the forms of knowledge participants expressed in their descriptions of the forest and forest management, including traditional and western scientific ecological knowledge. We found that study participants across agencies use multiple forms of knowledge, that this knowledge is generated and transferred in distinct ways and that participants acknowledge several challenges and opportunities to integration of traditional and western scientific knowledge in forest management. Overall, ecological knowledge expressed by study participants revealed multiple ways of knowing the forest. Knowledge varied most distinctly in the influence of cultural identity and spiritual or metaphysical connections to the forest on knowledge generation, transmission and content. Formalizing existing informal knowledge integration efforts with attention to power structures, institutional culture and knowledge application is recommended.
- Forest management
- Traditional ecological knowledge
- Western scientific ecological knowledge