top of page
DSCN6880.JPG
DSCN6881.JPG
DSCN6882.JPG

We support environmental stewardship and care of ecocultural
systems with community. 

ResearchInterests

Ethnoecology   Food sovereignty   Food and seed systems   Indigenous horticulture and plant care   Climate change and Indigenous Peoples   Environmental stewardship and social-ecological health and wellbeing   Indigenous led environmental monitoring   Ecocultural restoration and revitalization    Natural resource management and food policy   Two-eyed seeing Community based participatory research  Indigenous approaches to research   Allyship

News

  • Dr. Mucioki is starting as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Indigenous Studies at Emory University in August 2024!!!

  • Now recruiting undergrads, Ph.D. students, and Post-docs

  • New community brief on Indigenous foods systems in Anchorage, Alaska​

  • New review paper: Climate and land-use change impacts on cultural use berries in Plants, People, Planet

  • Guest editor and contributor to two part special issue on Native Plants and Climate Change in Artemisia, the journal of the California Native Plants Society

Ponderosa pine.jpg

We acknowledge the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located. In 1821, fifteen years before Emory’s founding, the Muscogee were forced to relinquish this land. We recognize the sustained oppression, land dispossession, and involuntary removals of the Muscogee and Cherokee peoples from Georgia and the Southeast. Our lab strives to learn about and respect Indigenous lands and partner with and serve Indigenous Peoples in the work that we do. We aim to build relationships with Muscogee and Cherokee People built on reciprocity, trust, and responsibility and engage in scholarship and service that uplifts Indigenous priorities and strengths with community.

Recent Publications

See all our publications on Google Scholar

Lupin.jpg
Climate and land-use change impacts on cultural use berries: Considerations for mitigative stewardship

Megan Mucioki

Almost 200 different species of berries are used for food and medicine by Indigenous Peoples, with unparalleled nutritional and cultural significance among plant foods. Environmental and land-use change is increasingly compromising access to, availability of, and consumption of berries. In this review, I consider (a) how climate and land-use change are impacting cultural use berries across species and places, as documented by Indigenous Peoples and in the scientific literature, and (b) how stewardship practices are being applied to promote resilience and sustainability in berrying landscapes experiencing stress. Climate impacts on Arctic and subarctic berry species include earlier ripening, changes in taste, or increased variability in abundance. These same regions are experiencing a proliferation of shrubs, while forests throughout the lower 48 and Canada are suffering from suffocating fuel loads and stand densities that are not conducive to berry habitat for many species. In the Pacific West, berries are influenced by prolonged droughts and increasing spring and summer temperatures. Climate change impacts are amplified by shifts in land use for forestry and agriculture. Biocultural stewardship practices, like low-intensity fire, thinning, transplanting, and cultural care, can be used to mitigate these impacts and promote berry microclimate habitats. There is opportunity for intertribal networking and knowledge sharing around berry stewardship practices that will support local and regional climate change responses.

Enhancing Indigenous food sovereignty and community health through the Karuk Agroecosystem Resilience Initiative: We are caring for it: xúus nu’éethti

J. Sowerwine, M.  Mucioki, D. Sarna-Wojcicki, K. McCovey, L. Morehead-Hillman, L. Hillman F.K. Lake, V. Preston, S. Bourque

Indigenous communities in the United States experi- ence some of the highest rates of food insecurity and diet-related diseases despite an abundance of food assistance programs and other public health interven- tions. New approaches that center Indigenous perspec- tives and solutions are emerging and urgently needed to better understand and address these challenges. This Practice Note shares lessons learned from ongoing col- laboration between the Karuk Tribe and University of California, Berkeley researchers and other partners to assess and enhance food sovereignty among Tribes and Tribal communities in the Klamath River Basin. Through two participatory research and extension pro- jects, we demonstrate the importance of centering Indigenous knowledge to strengthen research findings and identify more culturally appropriate solutions to community identified food access, health, and ecosys- tem challenges. Key findings suggest that approaches to food sovereignty and community health must ema- nate from the community, be approached holistically, reflect community values and priorities, and center Indigenous land stewardship.

Megan Mucioki, Jennifer Sowerwine, Daniel Sarna-Wojcicki, Kathy McCovey, Shawn D Bourque

Indigenous People in the Klamath River Basin have cared for and utilized ecosystems and component resources since time immemorial, proactively conserving species through continuous use and stewardship. Though many culturally significant plants are still tended and used by Indigenous people, many species are also experiencing prolonged stress from colonial forest management practices and environmental change. By integrating western and Indigenous ways of knowing, as part of a participatory and collaborative research and extension project, we present an approach to informing the conservation of four culturally significant plants (tanoak, evergreen huckleberry, beargrass, and iris) and understanding the influence of bioclimatic factors and stress on Indigenous people’s relationships with plants and the broader forest ecosystem. Mixed methods and ways of knowing generate a detailed assessment of each case study species that presence only species distribution models cannot supply alone. In this study we use MAXENT to model species distributions of our four study species and the flexible coding method in NVivo for qualitative interview and focus group data. Using species distribution models and 127 interviews and focus groups with cultural practitioners, we found significant shifts in huckle- berry harvesting times, beargrass and iris cultural use quality, and tanoak acorn availability that must be addressed for the long-term vitality of these species and interconnected cultures and people. Tribes have gen- erations of knowledge, experience, and connection to land that can help inform how to combat stressors and enhance productivity of forest foods and fibers and the health of forest ecosystems.

Conceptualizing Indigenous Cultural Ecosystem Services (ICES) and benefits under changing climate conditions in the Klamath River Basin and their implications for land management and governance

Megan Mucioki, Jennifer Sowerwine, Daniel Sarna-Wojcicki, Frank K. Lake, and Shawn Bourque

In the Klamath River Basin (KRB) of northern California and southern Oregon, climate-related changes, such as more intense droughts, varied and concentrated precipitation, earlier spring and later fall conditions, extreme temperatures, and decreased snowpack have contributed to increasingly unpredictable plant reproduction and harvest cycles. In this study, we explore contemporary relationships between plants and Indigenous People in the KRB, identifying benefits of cultural ecosystem services (CES) derived from Indigenous stewarding and gathering of culturally significant plants, and discuss how these services may change based on climate change observations and experiences. This study contributes to the conceptualization of Indigenous Cultural Ecosystem Services (ICES), providing a framework for the incorporation of Indigenous concepts, approaches, and perspectives into assessments of ecosystem services (ES) and, particularly, CES. It highlights the value of Indigenous perspectives and observations of climate change effects on plant reproduction and productivity, as well as their contribution to cultural ecosystem resilience and adaptation under changing climate conditions. We propose that incorporating Indigenous concepts and approaches to assessing CES and ES could lead to more holistic management decisions and better-informed climate adaptation initiatives with greater ES for all.

Contact

400 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322

5th floor Math and Science Building

123-456-7890 

  • Twitter
Ponderosa pine.jpg
bottom of page