The Tribal Lands Collaboratory: Building partnerships and developing tools to support local Tribal community response to climate change.


Response of Tribal nations and Tribal communities to current and emerging climate change challenges requires active participation of stakeholders who have effective access to relevant data, information and analytical tools. The Tribal Lands Collaboratory (TLC), inspired by ESIP's Earth Science Collaboratory and currently under conceptual development, is a joint effort between the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), and the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). The vision of the TLC is to create an integrative platform that enables coordination between multiple stakeholders (e.g. Tribal resource managers, Tribal College faculty and students, farmers, ranchers, and other local community members) to collaborate on locally relevant climate change issues. The TLC is intended to facilitate the transformation of data into actionable information that can inform local climate response planning.  The TLC will provide the technical mechanisms to access, collect and analyze data from both internal and external sources while also providing the social scaffolds to enable collaboration across Tribal communities and with members of the national climate change research community.

The prototype project focuses on phenology, a branch of science focused on relationships between climate and the seasonal timing of biological phenomena.  Monitoring changes in the timing and duration of phenological stages in plant and animal co­­­­mmunities on Tribal lands can provide insight to the direct impacts of climate change on culturally and economically significant Tribal resources. The project will leverage existing phenological observation protocols created by the USA-National Phenology Network and NEON to direct data collection efforts and will be tailored to the specific needs and concerns of the community. Phenology observations will be captured and managed within the Collaboratory environment where these data may then be correlated with regional climate data to investigate  interactions between large-scale environmental changes and local impacts. Esri’s Story Maps is a candidate mechanism for sharing of those findings among Tribal stakeholders. 


The Tribal Lands Collaboratory: Building partnerships and developing tools to support local tribal community response to climate change




Tribal Lands Collaboratory v0.1 Demo: An ODE to Phenology

Brian Wee, NEON

  • Collaboration born out of conversation with ESRI leadership

  • Adaptation to large-scale changes due to climate change, land use, invasive species, etc.

  • Target use case: tribes in Seattle area

  • Tribal lands collaboratory is integration of existing technologies, essentially a voluntary activity by the folks who are heading it up

  • What’s going on, and what problem are we trying to solve?

    • US Global Change Research Program

      • every four years has to produce an analysis of how changes are affecting our ecosystem services

    • Native American traditional ecological knowledge often relies on phenology, which is changing…

  • Tribes collect information about plants and put in database (for now, only widespread species bc not considered sensitive info) -- thinking about starting to collect phenological data

    • lots of support from Northwest Indian Colleges (three locations in western Washington state)

  • Framework for understanding change

    • social-ecological system (ecological and social processes are intricately linked)

      • processes (social AND ecological) operate in different realms, at different speeds, and at different scales

      • any problem you are trying to solved is linked to a number of other things operating at different time and spatial scales, different locations, etc.

      • In order to forecast trajectory of Earth system, have to grapple with these challenges; observation systems like NEON attempt to help with this

    • NEON

      • observes large-scale, slow processes over entire US; data is freely-accessible

      • NEON doesn’t ANALYZE the data or turn it into knowledge

    • Socio-ecological indicators developed and approved by White House to indicate the state of the environment (as GDP is for economy) -- many countries have adopted these

    • data → tools/models → indicators → publications, assessments, value-added data products

  • Why web-based collaboratories?

    • Born out of the Earth Science Collaboratory at ESIP

    • Multidisciplinary, complex challenges

    • Geographically distributed teams

    • Community building, establishes sense of the bigger picture

    • desired collaboratory capabilities

      • supports traceability/reproducibility

        • want to be able to step back in time and see how someone created a data product

      • persistent identifier support to enable citability

        • ability to cite certain steps in a workflow

      • access rights management

      • repurposibility

      • scalibility

        • to multiple parties/users (or tribes)

      • looking for a suite of tools that will support all of this

  • So, what is the Tribal Lands Collaboratory?

    • indigenous knowledge web:

      • center = sprituality core

      • then stories, then ceremonies, then environmental knowledge, then (at the very edge) are Western science tools

    • encourage collection of data using standard protocols, even if won’t be shared with everyone

    • tribal observation data + analysis and visualization via GIS, statistical tools, models → workflow (captured explicitly) → narrative of findings (e.g. through Esri story maps)

    • strategy (designed to be able to scale)

      • tribal lands collaboratory

        • phenology collab (now)

          • one site, one year (now)

            • different methods below this

          • many sites, one year (later)

        • water quality collab (later)

        • coastal green infrastructure collab (later)

  • open science framework (OSF)

    • multiple collaborators can edit the wiki

    • can attach files



PDF icon 2016-01.TLC Poster.v1.4.pdf864.25 KB
Wee, B.; The Tribal Lands Collaboratory: Building partnerships and developing tools to support local Tribal community response to climate change. ; Winter Meeting 2016. ESIP Commons , October 2015