Indigenous Landscapes - The impact of climate change on the natural resources of First Nation lands.jpg


How First Nation Land Managers are working to mitigate these effects.

Climate change has a profound impact on the natural resources of the environment. Rising temperatures, drought, and other extreme weather events can lead to increased wildfires, destruction of habitats, and reduced availability of clean drinking water. In addition, melting permafrost is leading to an increased risk of catastrophic floods and landslides in coastal areas. In response to this challenge, First Nation Land Managers are taking a variety of steps to mitigate the effects of climate change. Some of these efforts include:

Enhancing protection and restoration of ecosystems and habitats to maintain biodiversity.

Protecting and restoring ecosystems and habitats help maintain biodiversity, or the variety of organisms in each ecosystem. These steps can include planting native species to replace those that have been destroyed by wildfires, or reforesting areas where trees have been cut down due to logging. This helps ensure that wildlife populations can access suitable habitats and resources, as well as reducing erosion and flood risk.

Implementing sustainable agriculture methods

Sustainable agricultural practices involve utilizing techniques such as crop rotation, conservation tillage, cover cropping, and integrated pest management to reduce environmental impacts while still producing healthy crops. These practices can help reduce soil erosion caused by wind or water runoff, conserve soil fertility for future generations, and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. By using these strategies, they are better able to protect their crops from extreme weather events and changing climate conditions.

Monitoring water quality and quantity

Monitoring water quality and quantity is essential to ensure that clean drinking water is available, water is life. Part of this includes testing water sources on a regular basis, as well as monitoring stream flow rates and other factors that can affect groundwater levels. By doing this, land managers can identify potential problems early on, allowing them to act before they become too severe.

Monitoring water quality also helps them establish how certain types of fish are responding to changes in water temperature and chemistry, as well as help them identify areas of concern, for example where certain fish species, such as the bull trout are struggling to survive due to increased water temperatures. These efforts conducted by First Nation Land Managers and departments help ensure that natural resources are protected for future generations, despite the challenges posed by climate change.

Monitoring changes in air quality, and soil quality

Monitoring changes in air and soil quality is essential for protecting human health, as air pollution and soil contamination can lead to a variety of health problems. Monitoring the levels of harmful pollutants in the air helps land managers identify sources of pollution, such as construction sites or factories, which can then be addressed.

Similarly, monitoring changes in soil quality helps land managers identify potential contaminants that could impact agricultural production or drinking water sources. By taking these steps, First Nation Land Managers can take swift action to address any issues before they become more serious.

Utilizing renewable energy sources

Renewable energy sources harness natural resources like wind and sun to generate power. Using these forms of energy helps reduce air and water pollution, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Utilizing renewable energy sources can also help reduce the cost of electricity and provide a more sustainable form of energy. In addition, some First Nation communities in Canada are beginning to explore options like micro-grids to generate their own power independent of external sources.

Adapting to changing conditions through land management practices, such as planting drought-resistant plants and creating fire breaks

Adapting to changing conditions through land management practices such as planting drought-resistant plants and creating fire breaks helps protect crops from damage caused by extreme weather conditions. By participating in Indigenous knowledge sharing initiatives, helps First Nations better understand the impacts of climate change on their lands.

Participating in Indigenous knowledge sharing initiatives to better understand climate change impacts on the environment.

Indigenous knowledge sharing initiatives are important for land managers to better understand the impacts of climate change on their lands, so that they can take appropriate measures to mitigate them. The Kainai Ecosystem Protection Association is a great example of a First Nation-led initiative that is helping to address climate change issues in Alberta. The 8th Annual Kainai Ecosystem protections Agency Summit will be hosted on June 19-21, 2023, on the traditional lands of the Kainai Nation. Want to learn more about this summit? Click here.

Indigenous people, have a deep understanding of the land and its ecosystems, as we have been living on it for generations. This knowledge is used to create strategies for managing the land to protect it from the impacts of climate change. For example, land managers utilize traditional methods of plant selection and management to ensure that crops are resilient in the face of drought. Indigenous knowledge is also used to identify valuable resources, such as medicinal plants and cultural sites that are important for preserving traditional ways of life. It is also used to develop sustainable agricultural practices that consider the needs of both people and the environment.

Indigenous knowledge sharing initiatives help to spread awareness about environmental issues, connecting first nation communities with local experts and providing opportunities for collaboration between land managers and other stakeholders. It is also an invaluable source of information that can help inform decisions made by land managers about how best to manage resources in a changing environment. By participating in Indigenous knowledge sharing initiatives First Nation Land Managers can gain access to this wealth of information and networking opportunities that will help them succeed in their land management efforts.

First Nation land managers take a pro-active approach to make sure that lands are protected for generations to come. And with continued effort and dedication by everyone, our planet can remain healthy and vibrant for all people.