Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 9216
Title: Urban Non-Timber Forest Products Stewardship Practices Among Foragers in Seattle, Washington (USA)
Author: Rebecca McLain, Melissa R. Poe, Lauren Urgenson, Dale Blahna, Lita Buttolph
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
Keywords: Urban foraging, urban forestry, urban ecological restoration, environmental,stewardship, park management,

Our research seeks to expand the concept of urban environmental stewardship to include the everyday stewardship practices of urban nontimber forest products foragers. Ethnographic data from 58 urban foragers and 18 land stewards in the city of Seattle (USA) revealed that foragers reported using a variety of practices to enhance and minimize negative desirable species and their habitats. Many of these practices were identical to those practiced by restoration volunteers in formal programs and align with Seattle Parks Department management objectives. Foragers actively sought to learn more about what practices are sustainable; many mentored others in sustainable harvesting practices. Most foragers emphasized the importance of treating plants and their environment with respect. The land stewards voiced some concerns about foraging in city parks, but most were cautiously supportive of opening up the parks to foragers. The study results suggest that an opportunity exists for park managers to develop alliances with foragers so
as to leverage foragers┬┐ everyday stewardship practices and accomplish some of their park restoration objectives. Doing so will require park managers to acknowledge the positive contributions that humans can to make novel ecosystems and foragers to develop or strengthen self-regulation norms.



  • We examine urban foragers┬┐ stewardship practices in city parks and managers┬┐ concerns
  • Foragers engaged in practices aimed at reducing harm and increasing plant populations
  • Foragers used a variety of strategies to acquire knowledge about sustainable harvesting
  • Managers voiced some concerns but also cautious optimism about legalizing foraging
  • Opportunities exist for including foraging as a key component of restoration programs
Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management
Describe the interaction between human activities, particularly harvest of marine resources, and ecosystem function.