Navigation Links
Fire ecology manipulation by California native cultures
Date:7/25/2014

Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources.

Frank Lake, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Station, will lead a field trip to the Stone Lake National Wildfire Refuge during the Ecological Society of America's 99th Annual Meeting, in Sacramento, Cal. this August. Visitors will learn about plant and animal species of cultural importance to local tribes. Don Hankins, a faculty associate at California State University at Chico and a member of the Miwok people, will co-lead the trip, which will end with a visit to California State Indian Museum.

Lake will also host a special session on a "sense of place," sponsored by the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society, that will bring representatives of local tribes into the Annual Meeting to share their cultural and professional experiences working on tribal natural resources issues.

"The fascinating thing about the Sacramento Valley and the Miwok lands where we are taking the field trip is that it was a fire and flood system," said Lake. "To maintain the blue and valley oak, you need an anthropogenic fire system."

Lake, raised among the Yurok and Karuk tribes in the Klamath River area of northernmost California, began his career with an interest in fisheries, but soon realized he would need to understand fire to restore salmon. Fire exerts a powerful effect on ecosystems, including the quality and quantity of water available in watersheds, in part by reducing the density of vegetation.

"Those trees that have grown up since fire suppression are like straws sucking up the groundwater," Lake said.

The convergence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers was historically one of the largest salmon bearing runs on the West Coast, Lake said, and the Miwok, Patwin and Yokut tribal peoples who lived in the area saw and understood how fire was involved.

California native cultures burned patches of forest in deliberate sequence to diversify the resources available within their region. The first year after a fire brought sprouts for forage and basketry. In 3 to 5 years, shrubs produced a wealth of berries. Mature trees remained for the acorn harvest, but burning also made way for the next generation of trees, to ensure a consistent future crop. Opening the landscape improved game and travel, and created sacred spaces.

"They were aware of the succession, so they staggered burns by 5 to 10 years to create mosaics of forest in different stages, which added a lot of diversity for a short proximity area of the same forest type," Lake said. "Complex tribal knowledge of that pattern across the landscape gave them access to different seral stages of soil and vegetation when tribes made their seasonal rounds."

In oak woodlands, burning killed mold and pests like the filbert weevil and filbert moth harbored by the duff and litter on the ground. People strategically burned in the fall, after the first rain, to hit a vulnerable time in the life cycle of the pests, and maximize the next acorn crop. Lake thinks that understanding tribal use of these forest environments has context for and relevance to contemporary management and restoration of endangered ecosystems and tribal cultures.

"Working closely with tribes, the government can meet its trust responsibility and have accountability to tribes, and also fulfill the public trust of protection of life, property, and resources," Lake said. "By aligning tribal values with public values you can get a win-win, reduce fire along wildlife-urban interfaces, and make landscapes more resilient."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liza Lester
llester@esa.org
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UC Riverside entomologist receives international honor for chemical ecology contributions
2. Climate change and the ecology of fear
3. 10th International Symposium on Earthworm Ecology
4. Researchers receive top honors for ecology paper
5. Temperature and ecology: Rival Chilean barnacles keep competition cool
6. Steak-knife teeth reveal ecology of oldest land predators
7. Island Biology 2014: An International Conference on Island Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
8. Linking social science and ecology to solve the worlds environmental problems
9. The Secret Life of a Lake: The Ecology of Northern Lakes and Their Stewardship
10. European support for the first network of research and training in political ecology
11. Ecology, economy and management of an agro-industrial Amazon frontier
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2019)... , ... April 17, 2019 , ... USDM Life Sciences ... will deliver a presentation on solutions for Creating a Sustainable Global UDI Compliance Strategy ... the following insights:, , What device manufacturers did to comply ...
(Date:4/16/2019)... ... April 16, 2019 , ... ... search firms with over $2 billion in placement fees to recruiters and the ... employee onboarding platform, ExactHire. , This strategic relationship with ExactHire is the ...
(Date:4/16/2019)... ... April 16, 2019 , ... The International Society for ... 2019 ISPE Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference , on 18–20 June and The ... of the most influential bio hubs, Boston, Massachusetts USA, these concurrent events bring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/19/2019)... ... March 19, 2019 , ... Konica ... today announced the formation of their inaugural Scientific Advisory Board. , ... that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle to more ...
(Date:3/18/2019)... ... March 18, 2019 , ... For more than 15 years, ... that allow life science companies to easily comply with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 ... is a managed service delivering end-to-end GxP compliance from vendor audit through ongoing validation ...
(Date:3/14/2019)... ... March 14, 2019 , ... Open registration for the Case ... Spectrum of Case Management,” continues as CMSA makes plans to host the annual ... case management industry conference serving the educational and networking needs of case and ...
(Date:3/14/2019)... ... March 14, 2019 , ... ... preclinical research organizations. It is a low code, GDPR/21 CFR Part 11-compliant ... innovative technology-driven automated data capture and seamless data and information management. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: