(A Few) Principles of Indigenous Land Care

We won’t pretend to be experts on this topic. The following principles have been gleaned by others from numerous sources, and compiled in the book, “Before the Wilderness,” which we highly recommend.

1. The quantity taken does not exceed the biological capacity of the plant population to regenerate or recover.

2. Gathering techniques sometimes mimic a parallel natural disturbance with which the plant has coevolved, thus maintaining and sometimes enhancing plant production.

3. The tool used is appropriate to the resource. It does not deplete the plant population of interest.

4. Horticultural techniques are used to give plants a competitive edge and put resources back into the system.

5. Often plants are chosen that exhibit remarkable vegetative reproduction.

6. Management is frequently at a scale that maintains the integrity of the plant community.

7. Taboos, codes, or other social constraints are in place to discourage depletion or overexploitation and avoid waste–thus reinforcing conservation-minded behaviors.