Hoagland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe and the first female Native American with a Ph.D. to work for the U.S. Forest Service. Throughout her career, she has served as a liaison between the Forest Service and Native American tribes. Now, Hoagland is making similar connections in her research: Learning from the Mescalero Apache people about how the Forest Service can better protect the forests—and owls.
One strategy that many tribes use for forest management is prescribed fire. They will set small fires to clear the brush. That way, if a wildfire begins, there will be fewer leaves and sticks to fuel it. “Tribes are trying to be at the forefront of managing their forests by reintroducing fire,” Hoagland says.
The Forest Service uses prescribed fire too. What sets tribal forest management apart is the overall approach: “Tribes really try to take an integrated, holistic perspective with their management,” Hoagland says.