Tribal restoration initiative seeks to protect, restore Emory oak [VIDEO]
“Acorns, eagles and otters are an indication of environmental health to the Apache People.” – Vincent Randall
ARIZONA – Emory oak acorns are a critically important resource for Western Apache Tribal Nation, both as a food source and due to its cultural and ceremonial uses. For decades, Apache elders watched in frustration as groves produced less acorn yield and declined in overall health.
The goal of the Emory oak Collaborative Tribal Restoration Initiative is to restore and protect Emory oak stands (Quercus emoryi) to ensure the long-term persistence of Emory oak. Habitat loss, fire suppression, livestock grazing, groundwater reductions, species competition and climate change have all impacted the Emory oak population. This program uses tribal traditional ecological knowledge to guide goals and activities.
Since 2018, the project has developed into a collaborative partnership with tribal historic preservation offices, tribal forestry programs, tribal natural resource programs, Northern Arizona University, and the Tonto and Coconino National Forests. The partners work together to identify and assess important Emory oak stands, to complete clearances and begin implementing restoration and protection activities for several groves.