Biogeographic Context: Salmon Nation

Embracing the idea of the region being united by the runs of the Pacific Salmon, this project engages leaders from across this broad area. The importance of defining an area by a biological characteristic is based upon the idea that reciprocal dynamics in space and over time between organisms and the environment give shape to the organisms, and also those organisms in concert with one another help shape the landscape. People, like salmon, are both defined by and define their landscape.

Defining the region by the Pacific Salmon runs of North America is suggested to be useful and meaningful in three fundament ways. First, thinking in terms of geographic watershed may enable more cohesive thinking and decision-making on resource issues compared to the fragmented decision-making that can result from arbitrarily defined political boundaries.

Second, salmon have been identified as both a keystone and indicator species, meaning they are vital links to the health and functioning of whole ecosystems, and their well-being provides indications of ecosystem health.

Third, the value and importance of salmon to peoples throughout the region historically and at present cannot be overstated. Salmon have long served as a cornerstone of the regional economy. As essential to satisfying basic needs, salmon have long been integral to the cultural traditions of many indigenous peoples. That remains true today as salmon are vital to the physical, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of many people, Native and non-Native, throughout the region.

Read more about the biogeographic context of this project: Dissertation_Hall_2008.pdf (see pp. 30-35)

Historical Context

The bioregion of Salmon Nation(image from