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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Rodney Chimner

Committee Member 1

Yvette L. Dickinson

Committee Member 2

Audrey L. Mayer

Committee Member 3

Angie Carter


This dissertation describes collaborative research among the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Bay Mills Indian Community, and the author, using integrated social and ecological analyses to better understand Giizhik (Thuja occidentalis L.) forest communities in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan and to assert good Anishinaabe relations with them. Working with twenty-five Anishinaabe gatherers from both communities, we articulated relational practices of care in harvesting, as well as observations and predictions of change in intergenerational Giizhik-Anishinaabe relationships (Chapter 2). We conducted field assessments in lowland Giizhik forests on tribal, federal, and state lands across the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which addressed forest community structure, composition, and Anishinaabe harvesting criteria, and ecological conditions including soils, hydrology, microtopography, and herbivory. Using hierarchical cluster and indicator species analysis, we identified five wetland Giizhik community types and related ecological gradients (Chapter 3). Using generalized linear mixed models, we investigated Giizhik regeneration and recruitment across land tenure types, forest community types, and related ecological drivers, which included site hydrology, soil pH, germination substrate, and herbivory (Chapter 4). We assessed the abundance of Giizhik meeting Anishinaabe criteria for foliage, bole, and bark harvest on tribal, federal and state lands and identified significantly less mature trees on tribal lands, as well as management recommendations for restoring large-diameter, elder Giizhik within forest communities across the landscape (Chapter 5). The research described here draws from Anishinaabe and western scientific knowledges, tools, and responsibilities, with the purpose of identifying strategies for supporting Giizhik populations and longterm harvesting opportunities, keeping forest ecology and management in the context of forest relations.