Talk by U.S. Fulbright Research Fellow 2017-2018 Nina Fontana

Talk by U.S. Fulbright Research Fellow 2017-2018 Nina Fontana

The Fulbright Program in Ukraine is pleased to invite you to a TALK «Traditional Ecological Knowledge in the Carpathian Mountains: Roots, Threats and Future Implications» by U.S. Fulbright Research Fellow 2017-2018 Nina Fontana, to be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 6:00 p.m., at the Fulbright Office (20 Esplanadna Street, Suite 904, metro station «Palats Sportu», Kyiv).

Nina Fontana, an ecology Ph.D. candidate from the University of California, Davis, and Fulbright fellow currently based at Ukrainian National Forestry University, Lviv.  She is investigating traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and regional applications of this knowledge in stewardship and resource management in Hutsul communities. TEK is a dynamic, intergenerational knowledge source based on long-term personal experience, careful observation as well as adaptive response to an ever-changing environment. 

The Carpathian Mountain range, one of Europe’s last fully undeveloped landscapes, is home to over 200 endemic plant species and a principal source of subsistence to 16 million people. Since the Middle Ages, Hutsuls, traditional pastoral highlanders of the Ukrainian Carpathians, have engaged in various traditional ecological practices such as gathering non-timber forest products, NTFPs, like wild mushrooms and plants. The practice of cultivating NTFPs is critically important because they contribute to a growing local economy, diversify diets, present possibilities for genetic research and development in new domesticated crops, and provide a lens for understanding cultural identity. There has never been a systematic or comprehensive study of NTFP uses and management techniques in this region. Such lack of information hinders the future of social and environmental sustainability in the Carpathians, as well as in other NTFP-dependent regions of the world.

Based on preliminary data, there are common medicinal plants being sold at mountain markets that are listed as endangered (such as Radiola rosea, Gentiana lutea).  By understanding how forest-dependent community management affects plant vital rates and population growth, specific parameters defining sustainable harvesting emerge. Participatory action research scaffolds her methodological approach as the success of this research is based on building trust, understanding, and active participation through continual and transparent dialogue with Hutsul communities.

This presentation will contain preliminary data on ongoing research, perceived environmental threats and future implications.

This talk will be conducted in English. Please fill in the registration form.

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