WestLand is very proud to be part of projects that seek to restore landscapes for the benefit of the public and tribal communities. This is one such project. The Tonto and Coconino National Forests, with funding from Resolution Copper, is conducting the Emory Oak Collaborative Tribal Restoration Initiative (EOCTRI) which seeks to restore large Emory oak groves throughout Arizona. The stated goal of the EOCTRI is “to restore and protect Emory oak groves (Quercus emoryi) to ensure the sustainability of subsistence foods for Arizona tribes”. The Emory oak is a culturally significant tree for Native peoples and has been used for millennia for its nutritious mast (e.g., acorn harvest). The mast of the Emory oak is extremely low in tannins, has the highest fat (34%) and protein (9%) content of any other oak species analyzed to date, has 30 times more beta-carotene (Vitamin A) than most commercial nuts, and is high in other important vitamins and minerals. This project will specifically benefit Apache and Yavapai groups as the Emory oak is an important traditional food and has spiritual and cultural significance. Tribal partners for the project include the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, and Tonto Apache Tribe. Scientists at Northern Arizona University are also providing support to this important project. Recently the project expanded outside of the national forest system to include groves on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation near Cibecue.
WestLand’s cultural resources and environmental departments conducted the baseline studies for the EOCTRI project. This included cultural resources survey using archaeologists and tribal cultural specialists trained under the Tonto National Forest Tribal Monitor Program. Biological baseline studies on the health of the groves was also conducted by WestLand biologists and tribal cultural specialists.
We have linked to the most recent EOCTRI newsletter for more information on this project. We are proud to have been part of the restoration of Emory Oak groves throughout Arizona.