Moola, Faisal

Dr. Faisal Moola
Associate Professor
519-824-4120 ext. 54367
Hutt 350

Forest conservation and management, Ecology and ethnoecology of plants, Environmental policy Indigenous-led conservation.

Two Masters Positions Available in the People, Plants and Policy Lab at the University of Guelph, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics with Dr. Faisal Moola.

I am currently recruiting two Masters students (MA or MSc) to join my research group, that is focused on bio-cultural approaches to conservation and forest management with Indigenous Nations. I encourage interested applicants to contact me with a copy of their curriculum vitae, transcripts, statement of research interest and sample of writing. The positions are fully funded.

The successful applicant is expected to enrol at the University of Guelph for the fall 2019 term. Details on University of Guelph’s graduate program at the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics.

Research Area 1: Bio-cultural knowledge and conservation of plant communities in north-central Newfoundland

Plants have always played a significant role in the cultural fabric of Indigenous people living in Newfoundland and Labrador. Food and beverage plants provide significant nutritional benefits and the knowledge of plant medicines continue to be important in the holistic healing practices of local communities. First Nations in the boreal have developed sophisticated systems of horticulture, such as the management of fire, which has been encoded in indigenous peoples’ languages and has been passed on through stories and place names. This type of detailed information on the ecological and cultural importance of berry-producing shrubs and other ethnobotanicals is important in the management of bio-cultural resources in parks and protected areas. Ethnobotanicals also offer great potential as bio-cultural indicators for achieving ecological integrity and other objectives in the management of parks and protected areas. The project will be developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and Parks Canada. The project includes the participation of Dr. Hannah Harrison who is an environmental ethnographer and conservation social scientist with expertise in qualitative and ethnographic approaches to biosocial research on changing land and waterscapes.

Potential Projects:

  1. To investigate the importance of heathland and other plants as bio-cultural resources in north-central Newfoundland.
  2. To investigate the role of fire, insect outbreak and other types of disturbance on plants that are of particular cultural significance to First Nations and local communities in and around Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland.
  3. To integrate traditional ecological knowledge with western science in the development of management activities that can be employed to promote bio-cultural species, such as enhancing berry yields for wildlife and local visitors to Terra Nova National Park.

Research Area 2: Exploring Indigenous governance for the stewardship of cultural keystone plants in managed forests

Forest management practices, such as logging and forest herbicides, can adversely impact plants that are important to Indigenous Nations as food, medicine and for other purposes.  Such plants are typically not considered to be at risk by scientific and government bodies and thus receive minimal regulatory protection in forest policy. In the absence of state stewardship, Indigenous peoples are increasingly exerting their own forms of conservation and land governance including bans on forest herbicides, the establishment of protected reserves for red cedar, the resurgence of traditional fire practices, and other methods of Indigenous land stewardship. This project is focused on understanding the impacts of forest management on plants that are important to Indigenous Peoples and for exploring Indigenous systems of governance and forest management. The project will be developed in partnership with Indigenous partners and potentially will happen in Nova Scotia.

Potential Projects:

  1. To understand the impacts of forest management on cultural keystone and other plants important to Indigenous peoples in Canada.
  2. To explore systems of Indigenous governance for the stewardship of berry patches and other important bio-cultural elements in managed forests
  3. To examine how Indigenous bio-cultural knowledge and objectives can be incorporated into colonial systems of forest management, including forest planning and management.
  4. To investigate how Indigenous-led forestry could be done differently to better protect bio-cultural resources, such as berry resources.

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
Ph.D. + IDS Lukawiecki, Jessica The measurement of outcomes of Indigenous-led conservation management and practices in Canada and exploring the ways in which Indigenous-led conservation can be supported by Canadian government as we collectively work towards meeting international biodiv