Notes can be found as interactive webpage at

Anthro C12AC

Anthropocene #

  • The time when human activity began to have an influence on (global) landscape due to our use of fire
  • Large subject used in a range of fields – no single definition
  • Defining feature: combustion of carbon and greenhouse gases
  • Ice core measurement technique
    • As ice forms, methane and CO2 get trapped along with ash/dust/pollen which scientists can measure by coring
    • Ice can be dated so we can compare these variables so we can see change in greenhouse gases over time
  • Beginning is disputed
    • Industrial revolution (1780s)
      • Most popular among scholars
    • Atomic Testing (1940s)
      • The isotopic by-products of bomb testing provide a distinctive marker horizon in ice cores, ocean and lake sediments, and soils
    • Stages idea:
      • Includes vital events such as forest cutting and grassland conversion: the two largest spatial transformations of Earth’s surface in human history
      1. 1.8 million years ago: When fire was discovered
      2. 6000-4000s years ago: With neolithic agriculture
      3. 1780s: Industrial revolution
  • Identifying fire requirements:
    1. Evidence of temporal or spatial changes in fire activity and vegetation
    2. Demonstration that these changes are not predicted by climate parameters alone
    3. Temporal/spatial coincidence between fire regime changes and changes in the human record

Pyrogeography #

  • History of the variation of fire activity over space and time at the landscape scale in different regions of the world
  • Pyrogeography started in Silurian period when plant life began
  • Fire requirements: 13% Oxygen in a normal environment and 30% Oxygen in damp vegetation.
  • Fires are a selection force in the evolution of plants

Four phases for Pyrogeography #

1. Natural Biospheric Fire – Natural Fire Regime #

  • (Potential) start date for pyrogeography
  • During Silurian and Devonian Periods (440-400 HYA)
  • Natural fire regime started during this period because it was the first time that the fire triangle came together
  • Fire triangle:
    • Ignition Source: (Since beginning) Natural ignition from lightening (most common), volcanoes, (rarely) falling rock sparks
      • These natural sources tend to only begin fires in the dry season
      • Lightening is most common in mountain regions (over a costal region)
    • Oxygen Source: (Cambrian period) Atmospheric Oxygen (from photosynthetic plants) leads to appearance of photosynthetic organisms
    • Fuel Source: (Silurian and Devonian Periods) Enough terrestrial plants in ecosystems to acts as fuel
  • During this time, natural fire regimes evolved
    • As coal became more common (Carboniferous period), fires did too
  • Started long time ago, before humans and dinosaurs

2. Wildland Anthropogenic Fire – Hunter/Gatherer Fire Regime #

  • When people began acting as the ignition source
  • Primarily used fire for domestic cases
    • Heating, cooking, warmth, etc.
  • When people move to a new land
    • Major changes in fauna, vegetation, and fires (charcoal)
    • People seem to bring fire with them as they migrate
  • Start dates
    • 40 ka for Australia
      • 90% of fauna went extinct
      • Lots of evidence of fire
    • 45 ka for Highland New Guinea
    • 50 ka for lowland Borneo
    • 20 ka for the Americas
      • Extinctions of many animals and vegetation
        • Debate: are these because of natural process like climate change (ice age -> post ice age?) or do people play a large role
      • Native Perspective – Indigenous people have been here since time began

When did humans actually discover fire? #

  • Defining the bridge between phase one and two is difficult
  • Definition problems
    • Do we ask when did (modern humans / hominin ancestors) develop the ability to control and utilize fire?
    • We also need to distinguish between (1) controlling / utilizing fire and (2) being able to start a fire on a whim
  • Archeological problems
    • Fire exists naturally, so we can’t assume all fire evidence is from human action
    • Other natural processes can look like fire (e.g. staining by minerals in soil, oxidation causing reddish patches)
    • Combustion of natural objects (e.g. bushes) can leave charcoal which looks like a human hearth
      • Additionally, evidence of a hearth doesn’t mean that humans started/controlled fire
    • Provides a single snapshot, has little temporal depth
  • Archaeological Record Analysis
    • In the field:
      • Observation and collection of materials
      • Study the geology of the site
    • In the lab:
      • Microscopic analysis to see if there was burning
      • If so, could the location of the sample been transported after combustion?
      • Further, how does the history of the burned object associate with cultural items

How long has fire been controlled? #

  • Europe: Strong evidence of 400,000 - 300,000 years ago
  • Western Asia: One established case from 780,000 years ago. Other sites are similar to Europe
  • Africa: Claims have been made for a cave site that shows fire around 1.5-1.6 million years ago
  • Note that opportunistic use of fire could have happened much earlier
    • Eg. lighting a torch from a natural-starting forest fire

3. Agriculture Anthropogenic Fire – Agricultural Fire Regime #

  • Required fire to alter the natural vegetation from perennial-dominated to annual-dominated landscapes.
  • People preferred to live in fire-prone places because the burning provides advantages for hunting, foraging, cultivating, and livestock herding

4. Industrial and Domestic Anthropogenic Fire – Industrial Fire Regime #

  • Low-severity surface fire regimes are being replaced with low-frequency, high-intensity crown fires that are outside the historical range of variability for these ecosystems
  • Western US: forests have also experienced an increase in hazardous fuels due to highly effective fire suppression policy that excluded fires for much of the 20th century
  • Eastern US: Fire suppression has shifted oak and pine woodlands to mesophytic hardwoods consequently reducing flammability and fire activity
  • Globally: urban areas have steadily expanded into wildland areas
    • Producing more ignition sources (arson and accidental)
    • Exposing more people to wildfire

Key Factors in Fire Regimes (Discussion 8-30) #

  1. Frequency
    • The interval of fire occurrences
    • E.x. every four years
  2. Area
    • Size, distribution, location
    • Ground fires (primarily dead plants) vs crown (burning upper canopy of living trees)
      • Crown fires areas are more difficult to manage because controlled burns still damage natural resources
  3. Severity
    • How destructive a fire is (high mortality = high severity)
    • Change in dominant species / change in ecosystem
    • Quantifiable by how much soil on the ground is visible
  4. Seasonality
    • How the season affects fires
    • May or may not be annual
    • May arise due to weather conditions
    • Ex. Annual to decadal cycles of drying conditions
  5. Interactions
    • General activity on the landscape leading to different fire outcomes
    • Droughts leading to stress on fuels
    • Beatles eating bark, making trees more vulnerable
    • Fire suppression leading to less severe fires
    • Climate change making fires more severe

Biodiversity and Fire as a Selective Variable in Evolution #

  • C4 grass
    • Spread during seasonal climate in the tertiary period (when fires became more common)
    • Fires lead to woodlands and created environments favorable to C4 grasslands
    • Since C4 is high flammability, it would have produced a feedback process that further increased fire activity,
      • Thus maintaining the grassland-dominated landscape
      • This process is similar to the one currently maintaining many of our savannas
  • Plant attributes
    • Heat shock
      • Certain species have seeds that will open with heat
      • Not exclusive to fire; correlated with soil heat too
    • Smoke
      • Highly selective and specific to fire
      • Smoke is a mixture of specific chemicals unique to itself
    • Note that plants become resistant to certain fire regimes, not necessarily all
      • Changes in fire regime can kill off fire resistant plants
  • Even small differences in the deployment of fire outside of natural lightning strikes can alter patterns of forest succession, fuel availability, and seasonality of ignitions

Fires Relating to Evolution #

  • Beneficial Attributes
    • Cooking hypothesis
      • Key claim: Fire + cooking started with the Homo erectus. As such, humans have evolved around a cooked diet that they can’t live without
      • Led to fitness advantage
      • More energy + nutrient from food, enabling body and brain size increase
      • Detoxing effect
      • Increase digestibility of all food
      • Cooking takes time, leading to social development
        • Distribution of tasks among group: (collection, preparation, even stealing)
      • Cooking accounts for reduction in jaw, tooth size (due to softer food), stomach, and digestive system size
      • There is no evidence of modern human societies existing without cooked food
      • Counterpoints:
        • It’s still unclear that Homo erectus controlled fire
        • There are some sites that show no example of cooking: e.g. Neanderthal sites in cold climates
        • Energetic effects aren’t well quantified
        • Digestive evolution may not have been linear; other adaptations related to fire occurred after Homo erectus
    • Protection benefits at night (especially versus the alternative: sleeping in trees)
    • Allowed much better vision in caves
      • Enables cave art
    • Evidence that some hominids could use fire to morph certain woods into tools (e.g. digging sticks, hafted spears)
    • Allowed humans to colonize colder environments
    • Increase prey abundances, maintain mosaic landscapes, and increase pyrodiversity and succession stage heterogeneity
  • Social bonding
    • Led to camp fires
    • Allows people to stay up later
    • Fire could be used as a story telling enhancer, means to pass on history, culture, etc.
    • Provides a sense of intimacy and openness
    • Opportunity for music
  • Fire-stick farming
    • clearing ground for human habitats
    • facilitating travel
    • killing vermin, hunting
    • regenerating plant food sources for both humans and livestock
    • warfare among tribes
  • Woody, closed-canopy shrublands were opened up or entirely displaced
    • Led to spread of fast-growing annual species that provided greater seed resources, travel, and hunting and planting opportunities
    • Ex. CA land was only used for agriculture after burnings, which led to many other alien plants spreading too
    • Reductions in arboreal cover and woody understory have the most potential to enhance erosion
    • Reshaping of landscapes has posed problems for ecologists trying to understand contemporary landscape patterns

Overview of Fires in California #

Conflagrating California

  • ~54% of CA ecosystems depend on fire
  • The remaining ecosystems that aren’t too extreme for fires (so not deserts, stony summits, wetlands, etc.) are fire adapted

    “Fire season is 13 months”

  • CA has a diverse ecosystem; each site is similar to another one elsewhere though
  • What sets CA apart is the scale and intensity of it’s fires

  • CA’s fires are unique in that they lead national discourse
  • Texas views the US as France views the EUnion – a canvas to project it’s ideals
  • Alaska view the US as a source of subsidies. It’s isolated and treated almost as a commonwealth.
  • California shares sizes, political isolation, and sense of selfhood with the aforementioned.
    • Unlike AL, it has a strong and wide economy
    • Unlike TX, it has been independent but not secessionist and, while CA and TX both have strong cultures, CA doesn’t project its
  • Importance - 1/9 Americans live in CA - 8th largest economy - Social uses 1/2 the national fire budget - Source (and testing ground) of new firefighting technology

    “CA is like the rest of the US, just more so”

  • Two CA
    • North and south
    • Sierra and Seacoast
    • Rich and poor
    • Scrubland, megalopolis, & wilderness
    • Lowest and highest elevation in nation (Mount Whitney @ 14,500 ft and Death Valley @ -280 ft)
  • Sierra Nevada is analogous to NoCal
    • Big tilt
    • Highest in SE and slants lower to N + W
    • Mostly timber
    • More frequent fires
  • Transverse Range is analogous to SoCal
    • Big Kink
    • Highest in E, bends sharp W then trails to pacific and N
    • Mostly bush
    • More intense fires
    • 56% of ppl live on 8% of land

  • CA is a national innovator
    • Created geological survey in 1860
    • Created Board of Forestry in 1885
    • Set standard for fire control
  • Light-burning controversy
    • Pro-burn:
      • Frontier practices (the Indian way of forest management)
      • Advocated for regular burning montane woods and lowlands
      • NoCal
    • Pro-protection
      • Use govt to prevent\fight fires
      • SoCal
    • National issue debated in CA
    • 1923: Light-burning anathematized

  • Leopold report, Wilderness Act, and Tall Timbers fire ecology conferences
    • Began in 1962
    • Aimed to transform fire control into fire management
    • Good for conservation + private land owners who wanted traditional working landscapes
    • Loggers and ranchers started moving out at this time
    • Didn’t target urban areas
  • Urban Areas
    • Used fire suppression

      CA to spawn as AK to wilderness

    • Fires in SoCal rained embers onto cities
    • SoCal retaliated w larger firefighting force
  • New Practices
    • Operation Firestop: Transform tech into operational programs
    • 1956: Aerial tankers used to drop retardant on firelines
    • 1961: Specialty fire crews expanded nationally
    • 1963: Forest Service opened Western Fire Lab to coordinate fire suppression w air attacks
    • 1970: Organized SoCal fire agencies towards common practices
  • Area Specialty
    • Florida: Prescribed fire
    • N Rockies: Management over back countries
    • (So)Cal: Fire suppression
      • Land management in Cali was synonymous to fire management, thus fire suppression

  • As CA grew, the motivation for fire suppression was primarily economical
  • This lead to divisive debates of suppression vs let-burn
    • When there were flames, it was fight or flight
  • Many fire ideas spread from CA
    • Often transformed and simplified

  • Fires are especially susceptible due to Scioecological Systems (SES)
    1. History of fires suppression
    2. Climate change
    3. More extreme fire weather
    4. Expanding development
    5. Droughts
  • Difficult to predict future fire regimes well
  • Changes in human behavior can amplify, but tend to cancel out climatic effects on fire regimes
    • For example, humans alter through changing land use, ignitions, fuel conditions, or fire suppression
    • Fire activity is influenced by climate variability
      • More (less) fire occurred in dry (wet) and warm (cool) years, and high-fire years were preceded by moist and sometimes cool conditions 1–4 y earlier.
    • (Sierra Nevada) fire-regime shifts correlate to SES changes, not shifts in climate.
  • Are best bet is to look at history and see how fire regimes changed from past changes in socioeconomic variables
    • Climate increased fire activity on a large-scale after Native American depopulation reduced the buffering effect of due to their burnings
      • Sierra Nevada tribes were hunter-gatherers who used sophisticated burning practices to manage resources
      • The fire index nearly doubled after depopulation
    • Later Euro-American settlement and fire suppression buffered fire activity from temperature increases
      • Logging, fire suppression, livestock increase (grazing effects)
  • The overall sensitivity of fire regimes to low-frequency temperature variation is related to temperature-driven vegetation changes that alter fuel structure and fuel type

Peopling of North America #

  • Traditional Perspective – Clovis First Model
    • 13,000 ka, there was an ice-free corridor that opened up and let people come to north America
      • People from Asia follow herds of megafauna across Bering Strait ( Beringia)
    • We have found kill sites across America
      • Butchered mammoth, horses, bison, ground sloths, etc.
  • New Thoughts about Peopling of Americas: Multiple Migrations of People 20,000-40,000 years ago
  • Coastal Migration Model:
    • Use Boats to Come to Americas from Asia
    • Some travels may not have been successful which is why there is less evidence for this theory
    • Based on:
      1. Evidence sophisticated cultures
        • Art, pottery, (primitive) technology, etc.
      2. Evidence of maritime seafaring at early date (Australia, New Guinea, Japan)
      3. People follow the Kelp Highway Maritime
        • Kelp forests very productive (food source)
        • Kelp Highway went along Pacific Rim

Peopling of California #

  • Earliest well dated sites in CA (13,000-10,000 BP) [Based on radio carbon dates]

    • Sites located in SoCal: Channel Islands, South Coast
    • These Islands have always been separated by water so we know people had boats relatively early
  • Find Evidence of Shell Middens

    • Contain shell, fish, other maritime foods
    • Have evidence of tools for kelp + technology
    • Big Game Kill Sites rare in California Dietary Differences (Midwest/Plains vs California)
      • Perhaps because of dietary differences
      • Suggests different groups of people, so potentially different groups of migrants
  • Major Changes observed on Channel Islands

    • Changes in Fauna (Pygmy Mammoths)
    • Changes in Flora
    • Evidence of Fires!
  • Debate about what caused these changes

    • Due to…
      • Climate Change
        • Climate change at end of Ice Age
          • Mega herbivores died after ice age, increasing fuel sources (vegetation) which we can see with charcoal signatures
        • Causes warming + drying (leading to fire)
        • Changes in vegetation and animals because they couldn’t adapt
      • Comet
        • Newest theory
        • Estimated that 5km comet hit earth somewhere
        • We’ve found comet-diamonds and various sites that have chemical signatures potentially from a comet
        • Cloud from comet would have affected photo-synthetic processes, killing plants + animals
      • People
        • People may have over-hunted animals
        • May have brought fire with them
    • Potentially due to multiple reasons
    • Kent thinks it’s likely climate change + people
  • Concluding Points

    • Clearly people knew about fire from earliest times
    • Very Sophisticated Maritime Peoples
    • (Kent’s opinion) Early for early anthropogenic
    • Influenced fire regimes from earliest times
    • Implications: the Holocene Epoch in CA
    • (last 10,000 years); you cannot assume
    • That only Natural Fire Regimes existed
    • Must consider the influence of people

Historical Fire Records in California #

Methods #

  • Key Question: What methods can we use to get historical information on fires?

1. Coring Lakes #

Lake Coring

  • Annual layers are laid down in some lakes
    • Realistically you can date to around fifty years of accuracy
    • This samples have deeper temporal depth vs other methods
    • We can also radiocarbon date these samples to determine the time period
  • What to sample
    • Charcoal present is indicates fire
      • Larger particle tend to travel small distances
      • Smaller particles can travel much longer distances
      • Some plants may be easier/harder to identify than others
    • Pollen analysis can give you knowledge on what (wind pollinated) plants were common at the time in that area
      • Provides broad perspective of vegetation over time
      • Pollen can travel far, so resolution isn’t great
    • Phytoliths
      • Tiny particles formed in many plants
      • They don’t break down – can stay in soil for hundreds to thousands of years!
      • Can be used to identify plant species
      • Cons: Not all plants produce them; overrepresented in grasses

2. Coring Trees #

Tree Coring

  • You basically jab a metal straw into a tree and get a sample of the tree
    • Doesn’t harm tree, tree naturally patches the hole itself
  • These sample contain rings
  • Give us age and growth rate of the tree
    • Growth increase in rings can allude to neighboring trees being killed
    • Dead neighboring trees means less canopy blocking sunshine and less trees competing for nutrients
  • Multiple samples can give us an overview of a landscape
    • Do we see a multi-age forest?
    • Do we see synchrony in growth rate?
  • Crossdating: To identify events, we compare the sample’s tree rings to those of other “regular” trees in different areas at the same time

Ring Example

  • Note that the example above is a rare occurrence

3. Fire Scars #

Scar Example

  • Fire scars occur when fire kills part of the cambium below bark, leaving a wound
    • The scar itself takes ~10 years to show up
  • Multiple dated wounds allude to multiple fire occurrences
  • You can also get the seasonality too
    • Spring trees have warmer water so the scars are lighter in color
    • Fall/winter trees have slower cell movement, so the scars are darker (this is called “latewood”)
    • Therefore, how deep the scar is in the wood corresponds to the season the fire occurred
  • Use crossdating for high accuracy and precision
  • Pines, White oaks, Sequoia, Redwood, Incense, and Cedars are all good trees to take samples from
  • Wedges:
    • You can take wedges from the tree to get access to the ring view
    • Both living and dead wood samples can be dated
    • Pines, redwood, cedar, giant sequoia are all rot resistant thus good species to sample
    • You ideally want to cut a thin wedge that has a large surface area and includes center of tree
  • Downsides
    • Trees heal covering up scars or scars are in an exposed cavity that can be seen
    • Problem when fire interval < 10 years (such as cultural burnings)
      • Most of the time fires aren’t severe enough to scare deeply enough and if they do scar, it’s feint
      • Only 5% of trees sampled scarred in Sierra Nevada
    • Fire scars have a finite lifespan (tree lifespan)
    • Paints picture only of a certain plant in the landscape

Fire History Study Sierra Nevada #

  • Two large sampling areas, one north and south Sierra Nevada
  • Systematic fire history sample in mixed conifer forests
  • Important confluence of at least 3 Tribes: Sierra Miwok, Yokut, and Western Mono.
    • Burned extensively for multiple objectives
    • This periodic burning limited severity of fires
  • Fire area did not exceed 1500 ha in any year.
    • Approximately 50% of area
    • This is tiny compared to the scale of other fires in California!

Area burned in California #

  • Before 1800
    • Lightning fire
    • Indian burning
      • Burned most of grasslands, wetlands, oak woodlands, some forests
    • 4.5 million acres/yr. burned

Costal California Today #

  • Large area: scotia to Morro bay
  • Very diverse vegetation type
    • From mixed conifer to costal prairie
    • Fire regimes depend on vegetation, thus they’re diverse
    • Likewise, some regions don’t consider burning at all and only do suppression whereas others use burnings frequently
  • General ignition sources
    • At higher mountains, lighting ignition occurs (still rare, however)
    • At lower elevations / costal areas, human ignition is the main sources
      • Looking at history, we see that Indian fires dominated for thousands of years
  • Sudden oak death (SOD) in Tanoak Forest
    • Invasive pathogen in Marin Country
    • Dead trees increase the severity of fires
  • Prescribed fire periods
    • Done in fall if not drying to damage trees
      • Trees are in dormant phase, less damaging
    • Done in spring if trying to control/limit
      • Wet spring conditions are easier to manage

Location Types #

  • Costal Prairie
    • Interval: Short
      • Frequent fires critical to killing shrubs/trees
      • Therefore, due to human intervention douglas-fir and shrublands have began to take over prairies
    • Source: Indian
    • Type: high – removes overstory of grass
    • Size: Small to moderate
  • Coast Redwood
    • Severity: low
      • Have thick, adapted bark
    • Interval: Short up to 1880’s
    • Size: Small to moderate
    • Source: Indian burnings
    • Can re-sprout after fires
    • Redwoods are very fire and rot resistant so many contain information about fires
    • Difficult to date because the asynchronous ring structure
  • California Annual Grasslands
    • Interval: Short
      • Interval needs to be short so that shrubs don’t come in
      • Practicing fire suppression/exclusion results in quick spreading, non-fire resistant plants like douglas-firs taking over
    • Severity: high – removes overstory of grass
    • Size: Moderate to Large
    • Non-native plants dominate today, very different
      • Human intervention lead to overgrazing and drought which enhanced ability for mediterranean plants to prosper
      • It’s hard to go back and restore to native ecosystem state
  • Coastal Scrub – Coyote Bush (Oakland hills)
    • Interval: Moderate
    • Severity: High
    • Size: Moderate
    • Source: Indian burnings for diverse objectives
  • Oak Woodlands, Mixed Oak Woodland
    • Severity: Low
      • Have thick, adapted bark
    • Frequency: High
    • Size: Small
    • Naturally dense
      • Very dense nowadays due to lack of Indian burnings
      • Dense locations are less productive than managed and open areas
    • Mosaic of vegetation patches created that limit fire spread
  • Chaparral
    • Interval: Low-Moderate
      • Frequent burnings can lead to (invasive) grassland conversion (especially in SoCal)
      • Many other “fire follower” species begin growing after fires too
    • Severity: High
      • Very volatile even in spring (non-dry conditions)
    • Size: Moderate to high
    • Stand replacing regime
      • 30-75 yr. interval
      • Crown fire adapted
      • High intensity burns
      • Climate driven
        • Droughts
        • Low fuel moistures
        • Foehn winds – Winds from east that are generally dry and warm
    • Fire scars – not common
  • Knobcone Pine
    • Severity: High - High severity required to activate seeds
    • Interval: Moderate to long
    • Size: Moderate to large
    • Overstory tends to burn completely
  • Douglas-fir in North Coast
    • Severity: Moderate
      • Not adapted for fire (have thin bark)
    • Interval: Low to moderate
    • Size: Moderate
    • Changed from fire exclusion, harvesting, and fire suppression

Native Californians #

  • Long-History of Human Occupation in CA
    • Archaeological Evidence: 13,000 years or more
    • Evidence for multiple immigrations from both sea and land to California
    • Diverse composition of people
  • Native communities are still in California
    • 110+ recognized tribes today in CA
    • We can learn from them now about how they treated fire over history
    • 80-100 languages spoken between all tribes
      • Evidence for multiple immigration waves
    • The concentration of native communities is most dense North of Mexico
  • Packed Landscapes:
    • Many Tribes (Tribelets) or Small Nations
    • 100-1000 people make up polities
    • Mostly small Tribal territories
    • Crowded Landscapes
  • Complex Societies
    • Village Communities have Elaborate Ritual and Political Organizations
      • Different people would specialize in different areas
    • Food Storage (Granaries)
    • Sophisticated Material Culture: Baskets, Shell Beads, etc.
  • Non-Agrarian People
    • No formal agriculture practices outside SE CA
    • Sustainer primarily by hunting/gathering (use of wild plants and gatherers)
    • Adjacent Areas – neighboring people would grow corn, beans, squash but Indians chose not to practice agriculture
    • Perception about Non-Agrarian people Changed over time
      • (Falsely) Seen initially as passive foragers that minimal impact to environment

Indigenous Stewards of Land and Sea #

  • Better way of describing CA Indians (compared to hunter gatherers)
  • Indians worked/work as Active Agents to Augment Environmental Productivity and Diversity
  • Seascape Stewardship: Various ways Native people enhanced the productivity and sustainability of shellfish populations and fisheries
  • Landscape Stewardship:
  • Anthropological Rethinking back to 1940s, picks up steam in 1970s, 1980s that culminates with Anderson 2005 publication
  • Various Methods Employed in Landscape Management Practices:
    • Transplanting Water Diversion
    • Pruning/Coppicing
    • Weeding/Tillage Sowing/Broadcasting Seeds
    • All for the purpose of enhancing productivity of natural plants/animals
  • Most Important: Anthropogenic or Cultural Burning was the key method of stewardship
    • Long History in California (Channel Islands)?
    • Mediterranean Climate is Fire Enabler
      • Wet cool winters lead to high plant production
      • Dry and drought-ful summers provide a dry, extensive fuel base
    • Native Californians realized that fire was a natural occurrence and learned to live with fire
    • Reasoning for Cultural Burnings (Landscape scale)
      1. Fires Control Insects/Pests
      2. Remove Detritus, clean-up landscape
        • Allows light through which leads to healthy growth
      3. Open Pathways
      4. Use Fire to Hunt Game (driving animals into traps/valleys) and Insects
      5. Produce Straight Stems for cordage, baskets
      6. Augment Growth/Diversity of Plants and Animals in Territory
        • Grasslands and other plants may have deeper roots which make them more difficult to kill
      7. Increases productivity of nutrient rich plants that animals eat
        • Deer heard sizes are correlated with burnings
      8. Stimulate Growth of broad spectrum of economic resources
        • Through burning in Patchy Mosaics
    • How Areas Were Burned
      • Instigate fire regimes with frequent, small, low-intensity surface burns
        • Seasonality of burning very important to minimize risk of catastrophic fires
        • Additionally, risk reduced by reduce fuel loads + creating fuel breaks
      • Burn to increase productivity and stimulate growth of broad spectrum of economic resources
        • Notably shrubs with berries, oak woodlands, coniferous
      • Intentionally create Patchy Mosaics
        • Increase quantity, diversity and sustainability of key plants and animals
        • Different environments benefit from different style burnings resulting in checkerboard-esque patterns
        • Used for foods, medicines, and raw materials
        • Minimize risk of catastrophic fires due to reduced fuel loads and fire breaks
      • Burn areas contained by natural rivers/hills/ridges/basalt flows
    • Implications of Cultural Burning
      • Not Pristine Wilderness, but Managed Anthropogenic Landscape – you have to take into account Indians when looking at CA’s landscape
      • You can’t do restoration without bringing in people
        • Now, because of a lack of recent cultural burnings, some habitats are struggling

Controversy regarding cultural burnings #

  • Some argue that cultural fires were small in size, near villages, and had little impact on the larger ecosystem
  • Rather, natural fires best explain these fires
  • Evidence Types tend to be soft;
    1. Tribal Oral Traditions have a Short Temporal Depth for cultural burnings
      • Observations limited primarily to last 250 years
    2. Limitations arise when primarily referring to Ethnohistoric Sources
      • Ethnohistoric Studies are from (typically Spaniard around 1600-1700) explorers and not trained as anthropologists
      • Accounts tend to be spotty, geographically biased, and not very detailed
      • Sources don’t include key fire regime aspects (freq, seasonality, severity, area, synergy)
      • Susceptible to biases, uncertainty, and anecdotes
    3. Ethnographic Studies
      • Information is word of mouth history from within the tribe that’s passed from one generation to another
      • Recorded by anthropologists
      • Information is very brief/general and lacking in our definition of fire regime now
      • Old archeologists may have viewed Indians as hunter/gatherers (which is wrong!)
      • Colonizers prevented cultural fires (fire exclusion)
        • Fire exclusion is when fire is indirectly removed from the environment
          • E.x. adding livestock removes fuels, reducing/removing fire
          • E.x. Colonizers removing Natives (for reasons other than their cultural burnings) removed fires, changing fire regime
        • Whereas fire suppression is mindful + target specifically at stopping fires
          • E.x. Using firetrucks, airplanes, etc. to stop a fire from spreading
          • E.x laws preventing you from creating fires during the dry season
      • Thus, when we started Ethnographic studies in 1901(ish), we didn’t see the history before because current tribes weren’t allowed to perform cultural burnings
  • Instead, critics would like to see hard ecological data (fire scars, pollen analysis, charcoal accumulation, phytoliths)
  • Two main reasons to address these criticisms
    1. Differential impacts due to colonialism in different spaces and at different times
      • Some areas colonized much earlier than others in the state
        • Central and Souther coast colonized 2.5 centuries ago by Spaniards
        • Others only were colonized during the gold rush)
      • Some tribes subjected to Fire Exclusion/Suppression policies
        • Lacking specific information about when these policies were enacted
        • Tribes colonized during gold rush tend to have more information than those colonized earlier in time
      • Consequently, some tribes have not been able to practice Cultural burning for generations
    2. Political Implications
      • Some scholars argue that there is no real evidence that Native people were good stewards of the land
        • Point to times when animals/plants went extinct
      • Consequently, they should not play a special role in decision making Ecological restoration projects today
        • Nor play much of a role in the management of our public Lands today

Eco-archaeological Research #

  • Eco-archaeological Research: When we bridge ecological studies with anthropological / archeological studies and native Oral traditions
  • Tries to tackle Major Challenge of Eco-Archaeological Research: Differentiating Natural Fire Regimes from Anthropogenic Fire Regimes
    • Compare Expected Fire Regime from Lightning Strikes with Observed Fire Regime Based on multiple lines of evidence

Lightening Strikes

  • Long-Term Diachronic Approach that Employ Multiple Lines of Evidence:
    1. Native Oral Histories/Traditions
    2. Ethnohistorical Accounts
    3. Ethnographic Studies
    4. Ecological Studies of Fire
    5. Archaeological Research
    6. Other methods
  • Involves Researching with Tribes

Two Case Studies #

1. Sierra Nevada Mountains #

  • Difficult to carry out research because of high ignition rate due to lightening being common
    • Hard to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic fires
  • Research done by Linn Gassaway
    • Specifically looks at Yosemite Valley which Home of Southern Sierra Miwok people
    • Utilized Ethnohistory, Ethnography, Archaeology, Dendroecology (Fires Scars)
  • Lightning Fires less Frequent in Valley Floor, more common on mountain peaks
    • Natural Fire Regime in the valley has a Long Interval Between Lightning Ignited Fires
  • Three Basic Findings By Gassaway:
    1. Fires more Frequent for prehistoric, protohistoric historic times than expected for Natural Fires Alone
      • Evidence for potential Cultural Burning
    2. Still evidence of fire activity in 1800s (When Native peoples were removed)
      • Miwok people still maintaining traditional fire practices?
    3. 1890s: Fire frequency reduced when Military takes over administration of Yosemite Valley – Evidence for Fire Suppression

2. Eco-Archaeological Study of Central Coast of CA #

  • Research done by John Keeley
    • Central Coast great place to do study of Cultural Burning
    • Hypothesis Presented for Strong Likelihood of Cultural Burning Here
    • Low Frequency of Lightning on Coast
      • Natural Fire Return Interval around 50 to 100 Years
      • Greater Bay Area: About 2-5 lightning ignitions per hundred kilometers squared per century
    • Conditions of high frequency (around 5 years) fire interval (cultural burnings)
      • Forests dominated by Douglas fir would be suppressed
      • Redwood (fire adapted) forests would remain dominant, but have a more open understory with less fuel
      • Shrublands would be suppressed and costal parries would take over
    • Conditions of low frequency fire interval (natural)
      • Shrublands and forests would be common Absence of Cultural Burnings
  • Central California Coast Project
    • Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
      • Issues of Food Security and Food Sovereignty
        • Limited Access to Native Foods
        • Do not own much property
      • Tribe has Commitment to Ecological Restoration
        • Want to return indigenous plants and animals to the land
    • Established the Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT)
      • Purpose is to restore natural resources
      • Purpose it to steward lands and waters
      • Return to path of traditional ecological knowledge
    • AMLT working with resource agencies who own much of the land (CA State Parks, BLM, etc.)
      • AMLT also working to purchase land for the tribe
    • Established Native Stewardship Corps
      • Boots on the ground for ecological restoration
    • Amah Mutsun Tribe interested in Collaborative Work
      • Legacy of Colonialism
      • Tribe working with collaborative team to bring Knowledge of indigenous stewardship practices out of dormancy
      • Opportunity to integrate Indigenous Science With Western Science
    • Amah Mutsun work with Team of Scholars from UCB, UCSC, and California State Parks
    • Three components of project
      1. Synthesize Previous Work:
        • Ethnohistory, Ethnographic Observations, Tribal Oral, Traditions, Historical Fire Ecology
        • Cuthrell: Early Spanish explorers demonstrate extensive grasslands that must have been maintained through prescribed cultural burnings, as well as established Indigenous burning systems
      2. Undertake Field/Lab work—Fire Ecology Studies:
        • Take samples of Fire Scars (Redwoods), Pollen/Charcoal, Phytoliths, Lake Cores
        • Cuthrell: Phytolith Data from soil cores in Quiroste Valley indicate a long term history of grassland vegetation over the last ~1500 years
      3. Archaeology
        • Archaeology provides understanding of past cultural practices (e.g., tools, settlements)
        • Emphasis on recovering floral and faunal remains; evidence of kinds of resources harvested;
        • Intersection of Archaeology with Fire Ecology; When we see changes in fire regimes, vegetation – Do we see changes in kinds of resources harvested As outcome of landscape stewardship?
        • Study number of sites:
          • Middle Holocene (6500-3000 BP)
          • Late Holocene (3000-500 BP)
          • Historical (after 500 BP)
        • Collaborative Field Schools
          • Involves UCB students, faculty
          • State Park Archaeologists, ecologists
          • Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, AMLT
          • Native Stewardship Corps
        • Employ Low Impact Methodology
          • Geophysical survey work (ground penetrating radar)
        • Examples of Sites
          • CA-SCR-7 (6500-4000 BP)
          • CA-SCR-10 (1300-1200 BP)
          • Bolcoff Adobe (1830s-1840s)
        • Recovery of Plant and Animal Remains
          • Excavate Soil
          • Flotation of Soil to Recover Remains
          • Laboratory Analysis
        • Cuthrell:
          • Food remains indicate costal prairie seed foods (which came from prairies) were prominent parts of people’s diets during the last 1000+ years.
          • Charcoal from hearth fires indicates fire-compatible trees such as redwood were the primary fuel sources, while fire-vulnerable trees like Douglas firs were not as common
    • Our Findings:
      • Observed fire frequency greater than Expected from Lightning Ignitions Alone
        • Strong evidence of Cultural Burning
      • Extensive Cultural Burning:
        • Begins about 1769-1770 CE
        • Pattern of frequent, low intensity burns for the past 9-10 Centuries; up to Portola Expedition
        • Create Coastal Prairie Environments,
          • Evidence of grasses, clovers, tarweeds, hazelnuts, etc.
          • Also evidence of plant foods being harvested that required frequent fires to maintain
      • Patchwork of fires—burning areas every 1 to 5 years or so – maintain coastal grassland
      • Work in other areas corroborating our Findings
        1. Other Study Areas
        2. Coastal Prairies – extend from California to British Columbia
      • Conclusion
        • Key Point for Rest of Class: How can these Lessons from the Past derived from studies Indigenous Landscape Stewardship Practices be employed today?

Colonization of California #

Introduction #

  • Maritime Exploration
    • The first real instance of Colonization
    • Happened from 1542-1603 then a long break
  • Spanish Missions, Presidios (forts), Pueblos (civilian settlements)
    • Happened from 1769-1823
    • Primary goal was to Christianize and Civilize
    • Created large farm areas
    • Recruited thousands of Natives as labourers
    • Select locations where existing towns had reduction policies
      • Reduction policies moved natives into a single village after their land was taken
  • Mexican Missions, Ranchos
    • When Mexico took over CA
    • Happened from 1822-1846
    • Established huge, private ranches (Ranchos)
      • Ran by natives
      • Generated lots of money
  • Colony Ross
    • Russian Colonization from 1812-1841
    • Carried out by Russian American Company
      • Hunted sea otters
      • Sold pelts to China
    • Recruit Native Alaskans who served as primary hunters

Impact #

  1. Native population declines
    • Many deaths due to diseases (some of which hit instantly, some which took time)
    • Violence and warfare between natives and soldiers
    • (Sexual) Abuse of young women
  2. Unleashing of Foreign Weeds, Pests (Crosby 2004)
    • Raised range of new foods on large ranches
    • Thousands of cattle changed landscape too by overgrazing
    • Weeds spread aggressively at expense of indigenous plants
    • Land remains changed even today (90% of biomass in grasslands today isn’t native)
    • Archaeological Evidence of Spread of Weeds Mission excavations and adobe (mud) bricks
  3. Grazing Economy (Dart-Newton, Erlandson 2006)
    • Free-Range Grazing (no fences)
    • In addition to cattle, brought Sheep, Goats, Horses, and Pigs
      • Wild pigs are still an issue today
    • Major impacts to local environments and Native Foods
      • Overgrazing trample indigenous Ecological habitats
      • Help spread weeds
  4. Commercial Hunting of Mammals
    • Terrestrial Fur Trade
      • Primarily hunted beaver
        • Pelt used to make hats in Europe
      • Exterminate beavers from Western North America, Northern California
      • Major Impacts for wetland habitats
    • Maritime Fur Trade (Colony Ross)
      • Use Native Alaskan Hunters Very Efficient
      • Harvest primarily Sea Otters
        • Nearly eliminated, otter population still low population today
      • Major Changes to Kelp Forests which impacted Fisheries of California
  5. Fire Exclusion (Timbrook)
    • Began in 1793 when the Governor prohibited burning from Natives
    • Explicit Policies Enacted to Stop Native Peoples from Cultural Burning
    • Affected both Native Neophytes and so Called Gentile Indians (not part of missions)

Implications #

  • Loss of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
    • Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (Lopez 2013)
      • Could not conduct ceremonies, prayer songs
      • Could not Steward the land
      • Unable to pass information to next generation (loss of TEK)
      • Willing to work with archaeologists, fire ecologists – bring knowledge out of dormancy
        • Working to Restore Landscape Today
    • Chumash People (Timbrook et al 1993)
      • Located around Santa Barbara
      • Ethnohistoric accounts of Native Burning, but largely faded from tribal memory when ethnographic research conducted in 1920-1930s
  • Significant Impact to Local Coastal Environments
    • Increase of Foreign Plants and Animals
    • Decline in Diversity and Quantity of Indigenous Flora and Fauna Decreases
    • Loss of Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Native Medicine, Raw Material, etc. for Natives
  • Many Coastal Tribes Displaced
    • Colonial Invaders take away Native land
    • Especially costal land
  • Major Transformation in California Fire Regimes
    • Cultural Burning on Coast Stopped
      • Coastal Prairies get overrun by woody vegetation quickly
      • Even if grazing kept off shrubs, new grasses would begin growing
    • Some Disturbance keep areas open: Grazing, Colonial Burning?
    • Altered Fire Regimes due to new plant types

Timber Owners and Early Use of Fire (10/4) #

  • 1880: Advocates for ‘light burning’ in California appear – some thought fire was needed to manage forests
    • Whereas cultural burnings are done for specific intentional reasons, light burning is done for other reasons such as reducing fuel, increasing food for livestock, and other economic reasons
    • That is, cultural burning is a form of light burning
  • 1900: Debate start regarding fire management near Lake Almanor in CA
    • Private forest land owners practiced ‘light burning’ following early Indian and sheep herder traditions
    • Most foresters dismissed this proposal as mere ‘Paiute Forestry’ (derogatory term based on an Indian tribe)
  • 1902:
    • H.J. Ostrander attacked ‘protectionist’ policy of fire control as worse than effective because it allowed fuel to accumulate
    • US National Academy of Science committee on forest reserves urged fire control policy
  • 1908:
    • Gene Tolly: Sierra National Forest Ranger from 1905-1912 and cowboy assigned to range management for USFS
    • Gifford Pinchot: 1st Chief of the USFS
    • Tolly took Gifford on a back country trip through the Sierra National Forest to try and convince him to allow Indian Burning to keep meadows and forests from getting overgrown but Gifford didn’t buy it
  • 1910:
    • Sunset magazine was an outlet used for forestry discussion at the time
      • G.L. Hoxie wrote in the magazine to advocated light burning claimed it should not be merely acceptable but made mandatory
      • Made economic, not ecological argument
    • Unfortunately at same time, Great Idaho Fire occurred
      • Burned 3 million acres and killed 85 people.
      • Happened due to drought period with ignitions from lightning, locomotives, and logging
      • Resulted in national debate:
        • Senator Weldon Heyburn (R-Idaho) led effort to disband the USFS so that private land owners could manage their own land
        • Others argued that the newly found US Forest Service (1905) should be expanded so that it could prevent future fires (happened, turns out govt tends to only grow bigger)
  • 1930s: Two experiments were occurring in northeast CA around this time
    1. Full Control
      • McCloud River Lumber Company
      • Use trains, hand crews, etc
    2. Light Burning
      • Thomas Barlow (T.B.) Walker was raised from Minnesota and ran the Red River Lumber Co. near Lake Almanor
      • Clinton Walker (T.B’s son) wrote a letter to the Red River Lumber Company in 1938 (years after he had left the Company) saying:
        1. The general condition of the forests when the white man first came into CA was very excellent
        2. Then came the foresters from Yale University and put the tourniquet on the forests
        3. Would prefer to remove the tourniquet in our timber matters [which] is the lack of fire
        4. I requested permission [to burn] from the State Forester and the USFS DuBois. Both refused
        5. We proceeded to burn anyway, and Chief Forester Graves came out from Washington and DuBois and many others with cameras and notebooks to get damaging evidence
        6. They stayed several days and followed the burning, with comment by Graves that the work was excellent
        7. DuBois apologized to me for panning me in the newspapers previously
      • Graves suggested that T.B underwrite a chair of fire protection at Yale University
        • Walker agreed, contributing $100,000 (a huge amount of funding 1900’s). Harvey Chapman hired who was huge force in longleaf pine is southeast US
    • Over the next decade trials done across the US, especially in pine belts of the West and South
    • Stuart Show (from Stanford btw) looked for light burning area around Mt. Hough, Claremont, Meadow Valley Country
      • Found a suitable area near Snake Lake
      • Commit data/scientific fraud by adding more fuel:

        “Ed and I did 250 acres alone and, except for the long hitch of work, didn’t have any trouble. The only dishonest thing we did was to pile some pine limbwood in big fire scars of a few large pines, with the gratifying result that they burned down and became damage statistics”

      • Dave Rogers already had made up his mind regarding light burnings

        “Went over nonchalantly to reburn Snake Lake (in 1920). It would have been O.K. except that Plumas Supervisor Dave Rogers came out the night of the burn, grabbed a brush burning torch and ended up stringing fire outside the line on two opposite ends. Then he left.” “You can understand our deep affection for Dave and the Plumas”

      • The use of fire in forest management was not given an objective evaluation anywhere in the Western US including Indigenous burning
  • 1940s: Harold Biswell was a professor in the Berkeley Forestry Department from 1947 - 1972
    • Biswell conducted prescribed fire research in the forests of Georgia from 1942 to 1947 when he was a researcher for the US Forest Service Southern Research Station
    • Began prescribed fire work in Ponderosa pine forests in 1951 (Boggs Mountain near Middletown as well as Teaford Ranch in the Southern Sierra near Bass Lake)
      • Both of these locations were private land because no government agency would let him burn in public land
    • Said in his 1958 paper:

      “At the time the idea of burning was fairly new to me and I looked upon fire as the arch enemy of forests and forestry”

    • His 1958 paper showed it was possible to use fire in CA forest management and warned about future problems if fuels were not reduced
      • His conclusions were very controversial at the time
      • His PhD students recall

        “There was little opposition to him burning in grasslands and shrublands, but when he began burning experiments in ponderosa pine forests, active and open criticism of him and his work exploded. He was referred to as “Harry the Torch,” “Burn-Em-Up Biswell,” and other derisive names, and not always behind his back”

      • No forestry faculty would work with Biswell.
        • UCB Forestry faculty voted to forbid him or his graduate students to work at Blodgett Forest
        • (Scott’s Opinion:) At the very least, some UC Berkeley forestry faculty should have worked cooperatively with Biswell to further explore this topic
    • In 1973, he was given the Berkeley Citation, awarded for his contribution to the University of California that “go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields.”
      • He was the first UCB forestry professor to get this award

Early Foresters and Fire (10/6) #

  • Some debate, but suppression wins in 1910s
    • However, one exception: Southern US continues to use fire
  • Pre WWII:
    • 1933: Civilian Conservation Corps labor (CCC) used to fight fires
      • Hired many people due to great depression
    • 1935: 10 AM (National) Policy: All fires should be out by 10AM the day after they’re detected before conditions that would make fire more severe arise
  • During WWII
    • Firefighting resources (people, machines) tied up with the war
      • Consensus objectors put into fire fighting crews
      • Many were ridiculed but they fought the fire with little technology and overhead
    • Japanese sub fires shell near Santa Barbara
      • Fear of Los Padres NF and others being burned
    • Japanese also launch fire balloons
      • Hundreds hit the US, but they’re kept hidden from public
    • Public urged to be careful and fire is connected to the war
    • USFS organizes Cooperative Forest Fire Protection Campaign
      • Fire protection was framed as National Security through public campaigns
      • Huge push to save resource during the war
        • “Careless matches aid the Axis”
        • “Our carelessness, their secret weapon”
      • Bambi brought (in 1944)
        • Movie showed terrible fires started by hunters
        • Only on loan from Disney for 1 year
      • Smokey Bear named in 1945
        • Named after asst. Chief of NYC Fire Dept. 1919-1930 – “Smokey” Joe Martin
  • Post WWII
    • Smokey Bear (cont.)
      • “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” created in 1947
      • Canada steals him in 1956.
      • Focus broadened to appeal to children
    • 1950: The “Real” Deal
      • Las Tablas fire breaks out and a bear cub found almost dead
      • Cub is treated and heals, eventually ends up in D.C. Zoo
    • Still endearing
      • One of most recognized figures in U.S. behind Santa and Mickey Mouse
      • Stamps made (1984)
      • Own zip code (20252) – you can write him a letter and get a reply
      • Office, Web page, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
    • Has Smokey’s message been TOO successful?
      • Original message was very black and white

Colonialism (10/8) #

Settler Colonialism In The American #

Earlier Colonial Enterprises (1769-1846) #

  • Missionary Colonies: Franciscan Missions – interested in converting
  • Mercantile Colony: Colony Ross (Fort Ross) – interested in pelts and profit
  • Common Features to both:
    • Predate Settler Colonialism
    • Involved Few Euro-Americans – workforce was almost all Native people
    • Self-Contained Agrarian Systems
    • Native people integral to their success
  • Major Outcomes ( 9/27/21 Lecture)
    • Loss of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • Significant Environmental Impacts to Coastal CA
    • Many Coastal Tribes Displaced
    • Transformations in Fire Regimes

Settler Colonies #

  • Immigration of European/foreign settlers
    • British employed Settler Colonialism in Eastern USA
    • Establish Permanent Residences
  • Predicated on Removal of Indigenous People
  • Employed “Logic of Elimination” – Moral Ground for Taking Land Away
  • After American Revolution – USA Adopts Settler Colony Practices; Manifest Destiny; Millions of people moved westward
  • Key Dates for California:
    • 1840s: Movement of settlers along California, Oregon, Mormon Trails
    • 1846: Mexican-American War, Annexation of CA
    • 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Gold Rush
    • 1850: California became the 31st State
    • 1869: Transcontinental Railroad Completed
    • 1850s-1870s:Settler Colonialism really takes off

Implications Of Settler Colonialism #

1. Genocide (Madley 2016 Reading) #

  • 1846-1870s – Dark Ages for Native People
  • Extermination of Indians supported by Governors and other Politicians:
    • First Governor Peter Burnett proclaimed “War of Extermination
    • Senator John Weller (Governor in 1858) – “White Man Demands Extinction
    • California Legislature passed anti-Indian laws:
      • Legal slavery of Indian Children
      • Bounty Hunters paid by the scalp
      • No rights in Court (couldn’t testify against a white person)
      • Vagrancy Laws, etc.
      • California and Federal Government Supported militias – volunteer companies (Essentially Death Squads) that removed Indians from their lands
      • California and Federal Governments – allocated over $2 million dollars for this
  • Also diseases, starvation, etc. took a terrible toll on Indians
  • Outcome of Extermination Policies: Native people Decimated, while Colonists Explode in Numbers:
    • Indian Population:
      • 1769 = 310,000
      • 1846 = 150,000
      • 1900 = 15,000
    • Settler Colonist Population:
      • 1850 = 92,597
      • 1900 = 1,485,053

2. Reservations #

  • Unlike other Western States, most California Tribes did not have treaties with the Federal Government (as such, tribes cannot practice cultural burnings!)
  • Abysmal Treaty Record in California
    • 1851-1852: 18 Treaties Negotiated with Tribes of California; Proposed Reservation Land of 11,700 sq miles (Anderson 2005 Reading)
    • None of the 18 Treaties Ratified by US Senate even though some Natives already moved
      • Politicians didn’t want to give up good agricultural land
    • Subsequent attempts to create Reservation Land – Not very Successful;
  • 1850s-1870s: Military Reservations
  • 1870s-1900:
    • Federal Funding for Small Land Grants
    • Influence of Helen Hunt Jackson, Her Book, Ramona, very important in Humanitarian movement
      • Fictional book told a love story of an Indian chief which became a best seller and brought attention to the situation
  • 1906-1930: Another period of federal funding for small Land Grants for California Indians but it was all tiny sections of land (called Rancheria lands)

3. Federal Recognition #

  • Discuss Importance of Federal Recognition: Housing, legal assistance, Indian Health, food distribution, child welfare, Indian arts and culture development, fund tribal cultural heritage programs, tribal historic preservation officers, NAGPRA, Indian Gaming
  • Three-Tiered System in California:
    1. Gaming Tribes (Fed Recognized)
    2. Non-Gaming Tribes (Fed Recognized)
    3. Unacknowledged Tribes
  • In California Many Tribes Not Federally Recognized (Unacknowledged Status with Federal Government – no land or status with feds!) – Why is this the case?
    • 1851-52: treaties not ratified
    • 1870s-1900s:
      • Award Federal Recognition to tribes with strong continuities with Past; Those that maintained Indian cultural practices over time
      • This was influenced by early anthropologists (i.e. UC Berkeley)
        • Program of “Ethnographic Salvage”
        • Tended not to work with Tribes who had undergone major transformations, acculturation
      • Discuss Spatial Distribution of Fed Recognized Tribes; Many Unacknowledged Tribes in Former Mission Lands
      • E.x. Ohlone Indians in post-mission times did not disappear
        • 1840s: In East Bay
        • 1860s: Lived at Alisal Rancheria well into 1900s
          • Active Indian community – inter-marry with other tribes, Hispanics
          • Some Anthropologists claim they were “culturally extinct” role that early Anthropology Played in Tribes obtaining Federal Recognition, and those that did not (Lightfoot 2005 Reading)

4. Environmental Degradation (Anderson 2005 Reading) #

  • Commodification of Environment
  • Gold Mining, Hydraulic Mining
    • Impacted rivers and lakes
  • Commercial Agriculture and Ranching
    • Drained wetlands
    • Monocropping
  • Commercial Hunting of Game, Birds, Fishing
  • Massive Timber Harvests
    • Clear cut total forests
    • Exploitive – not forestry
    • Specifically Redwoods, Sierra Nevada
  • Dam Rivers
  • Unleash Plethora of Foreign Plants/Animals

Four Outcomes Of Settler Colonialism On Indigenous Landscape Management Practices In California #

1. Fire Prohibition Policies #

  • Initially Directed Against Native People;
  • Racism – Early Fire Bans Did Not Apply to All Settler Colonists
    • Settlers, Ranchers, and timber companies still burned land
  • Why Natives Signaled out for Ban?
    • Fire Suppression - - Component of Settler Colonialism
    • Strategy to Facilitate the Removal of Natives from their Lands?

2. Minimal Reservation Land Implications for Indigenous Stewardship Practices; #

  • Fewer Restrictions on Indian Trust/Reservation Lands
  • However, Lack of Tribal Lands in California
    • Curtailed ability of tribes to Revitalize Landscape Practices, such as Cultural Burning
  • Compare California with Trust Lands in American Southwest!!

3. Native People Lost Access To Resources From Their Tribal Lands #

  • Major problem for tribes—they were not granted trust land (reservations) AND they had minimal access to resources on Public Lands (California State Parks, BLM, National Park Service, US Forest Service) Until Recently - Tribes not allowed to undertake Stewardship practices on Public Lands
    • no cultural burning
    • no harvesting of foods, medicines, raw materials

4. Conservation Practices: Exclusion Of Native People (Anderson 2005, Johnson 2014 Readings) #

  • Influence of John Muir on Conservation Movement in USA in early 1900s
    • Early debate about conservation practices involving light burning, indigenous stewardship
    • Believed land was cathedral of nature and should be untouched (so no Indian burning!)
  • John Muir:
    • Argued for creations of pristine, natural preserves untouched by people
    • Did not Advocate for Native Stewardship Practices, such as Cultural Burning
    • Conservation Model - - Put Fence Around Property and keep people out
    • Fire Suppression Policies of Settler colonialism
      • One component of broader package of developments that have kept tribes from revitalizing cultural burning until recently
  • Policies of extermination, genocide; poverty, diseases, food shortages; limited sized reservations; many California tribes unacknowledged; massive environmental destruction of tribal lands
  • Upshot of Discussion, up until the 1960s-1970s, Native Californians had little or no land to call their own, minimal tribal land, little access to resources on Public Lands in California for harvesting foods, medicines, raw materials for baskets, etc.
  • Greatly curtailed ability to undertake Indigenous Landscape Stewardship Practices, such as Cultural Burning

Outline Fire Suppression Policies of US/CA Governments #

  • Nathanial Kenny wrote an article on the US Fire Service
    • Published in 1956 in National Geographic
    • Argued that at the end of the day, science would be the most crucial role in controlling fires

    “I don’t believe that equipment and development alone will show us how to keep having the relatively few big fires… Researchers must let their imaginations soar for answers that today would seem fantastic”

  • Fire Suppression:
    • Begins around 1905
    • Approximately 80,000 fires/year today
    • 98-99% of all wildland fires out at less than 5 acres in size
    • 95% of area burned today is from 1-2% of the fires that escape initial attack
      • Often occurs in terrible conditions
    • 4.5 million acres once burned in CA
      • Over half Tribal burning – 10-35% of this area burns today in most years but 2020 will burn this amount for 1st time (Stephens et al. 2007)
      • Size is only one aspect – what is the fire mortality? what is the distribution? etc.
    • Not just area burned, burn patterns inside
  • Historical data yields insight into controls on forest structure in pine-mixed conifer forests
    • In 1911 photograph and datasets we can see much more sunny forests
    • This is due to more frequent, natural/cultural burnings vs today’s fire suppression
    • Kern National Forest Structure and Composition (Stephens et al. 2015)
  • Southern California and Baja Forests (Stephens et al 2003)
    • Drought from 1999-2002 in southern California and northwestern Mexico
      • Only 5 inches of rain one year, driest on record in So Cal mountains another year
    • Fire suppression and past forest harvesting have increased forest density in So Cal (Minnich et al 1995)
      • Native bark beetle population increased because of weaker trees
    • Sierra San Pedro Martir / Northern Baja California
      • Mediterranean climate
      • Annual precipitation averages 24 in
      • Area has been grazed by livestock
      • Similar to southern California and eastern Sierra Nevada
      • Fire suppression begins in 1970, no harvesting
      • SSPM Mission in 1794 severely impacted populations
      • Within the California floristic province
      • Forested area of around 40,000 acres
      • Fire suppression and past forest harvesting have increased forest density (Minnich et al. 1995)
      • Elevation upper plateau 8800 ft
        • 3 large plateaus, Peninsular Mountains
      • Jeffrey pine-mixed conifer forests
        • Similar to souther CA and eastern Sierra Nevada
        • Fire suppression begins in 1970s, no harvesting
      • 3 indigenous cultures used portions of the SSPM outside the winter: Paipai Kiliwa, Nakipa
        • SSPM Mission in 1794 severely impacted populations
        • Mission lasted 8 years due to extreme climate
    • SSPM wildfire July 4, 2003
      • Started in chaparral below forest
      • Fire burned approximately 600 acres
        • More shrubland than forest burned
      • Largest fire in 20 years
        • Occurred at end of sever drought, 1999-2002
        • Same drought as in SoCal
          • SoCal drought killed millions of trees w/o fire
      • Only 20% of trees killed
        • Jeffrey pine more dominate after fire, trees and seedlings (less white fir, incense-cedar)
      • Fire was very patchy
        • Directly linked to heterogeneity of forest structure and fuels pre-fire
        • Mortality very low even after 4 year drought and wildfire (Stephens et al. 2008)
      • Incredible forest resilience!!
        • Gives us hope in California
        • To answer Nathanial Kenny – Fire back, restoration thinning, and stewardship are also key

Implications for Local Ecosystems #

  • Changes to Grasslands
    • Encroachment of woody species
      • Pinyon pine-Juniper in Southwest
    • Tallgrass prairie
    • Mountain meadows
    • Coastal Prairies
  • Fire taken out of system
    • Fire return intervals increased
    • Whole ecosystems change
    • Examples from Montana and Arizona
  • Rim Wildfire
    • Largest fire in Sierra Nevada
      • Fifth largest fire in history of CA
    • Ignited August 17, 2013
    • Total area burned: 270,000 acres (102,000 ha )
    • Fire effects
      • Very large high severity patches
    • Cost of suppression : $127.2 million
  • Management Response
    • Forest fuel reduction treatments implemented to reduce fire hazards and fire effects
      • Reduction of surface and ladder fuels critical (Agee and Skinner 2005)
    • Example of fuel reduction treatments
      • Research has determined that treatments are effective in reducing potential fire behavior and effects (Fulé et al. 2012)
  • Permanent Backlog: Sierra Nevada
    • 2.9 million acres (60% of FS acreage) will always remain fuel loaded
    • 2/3’s of this acreage is pine-dominated and mixed-conifer forest types
    • This is a disaster! Only gets worse with climate change
  • Summary
    • Tree density increased 2-3 times in mixed conifer forests since 1911
    • Forest change has decreased resiliency
    • Climate change will make this situation worse
    • Need increased fuel reduction treatments and wildfire for resource benefit frequent fire forests - critical
    • California legislation $200 Million/yr. through 2028
    • Fuel treatments on 1 million acres/yr. by 2025
    • US Forest Service management plans being revised
      • Best chance in decades to change trajectory
    • Next 1-2 decades absolutely critical
    • Leave options available for future managers
    • We are running out of time!!

Leopold and Forest Restoration #

Leopold et al. 1963 #

  • Asked to carry out report by US govt
  • Carried out in Yellowstone
  • Took view of the whole ecosystem, not just a single issue
  • Animal populations ‘protected’ from hunting and habitats ‘protected’ from wildfire
    • Wolfs (predators) were hunted before so that elk could thrive
    • Elk thrived too much; Elk became hunted because their population grew so high
  • Habitat is not stable that can be set aside and preserved behind a fence
  • Goal of Park Management in the United States
    • Each park be maintained, or where necessary recreated, in the condition when first visited by the white man
      • Wilderness isn’t devoid of people; need to consider native stewards
    • A primitive America could be recreated, using skill, judgment, and ecologic sensitivity
    • The forty-niners poured over the Sierra Nevada and found big trees in gigantic magnificence
      • Ground was grass parkland, in springtime carpeted with wildflowers (No mention of indigenous management)
      • Today dog-hair thicket of young trees and mature brush—a direct function of protection from natural fires
    • Is it possible that the primitive open forest could be restored? And if so, how? (Big question even for today)
  • Policies of Park Management
    • Research, not intuition, should form the basis for all management
    • Agency best to study park management is the National Park Service
    • Management without knowledge would be a dangerous policy indeed
  • Methods of Habitat Management
    • Of the methods of manipulating vegetation, controlled use of fire is the most “natural” and the cheapest and easiest to apply (easy?? Maybe in the 1960’s)
    • Forest and chaparral areas protected from fire may require careful advance treatment (Harold Biswell influence?)
    • Trees and mature brush may have to be cut, piled, and burned before ground fire (Harold Biswell did this with his early burning)
    • Once fuel is reduced, periodic burning can be conducted safely and at low expense (Biswell)
      • Against wind and down hill results in slowest and least severe fire conditions
    • “We are calling for a set of ecologic skills unknown in this country today” (Indigenous?)
    • “It will not be done by passive protection alone” (Big statement at the time, Still important today)
  • Very powerful ideas included, changes NPS course of action (no Indigenous people though)

Sneeuwjagt et al. 2013 #

  • Rick was the head of bushfire and prescribed fire in Western Australia which also has a Mediterranean climate
  • Opportunities for improved fire use and management in California: lessons from Western Australia (WA)
  • Treatment size - Prescribed burn units much larger than those implemented in the US - make ours bigger
    • Burns averaging in excess of 5000 ac, with some as large as 25,000 acres in Western Australia
  • Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) fire managers take advantage of relatively few burn windows to burn large areas
    • Managers use weekends and nights, if conditions are favorable
    • Have multiple burn plans in place in each region in order react quickly to conditions
    • DEC begins training new seasonal crews on prescribed fires in the spring burning season
    • DEC has responsibility for fire management across all public lands in the state of Western Australia (integrated versus USA system)
    • Impossible to combine the many county, state, and federal agencies of CA under one agency but we need to do better
  • Similar to California, prescribed fire in Western Australia is a contentious issue, particularly some urban residents who not aware of benefits of prescribed fire
  • Indigenous burning not integrated with DEC burning – rare across Australia at least in 2013
  • DEC uses a focused outreach effort to the public and politicians – otherwise, fire program could get cut
    • Fire program severely tested from an escaped prescribed burn in November 2011 that destroyed 32 houses
      • Part of Reason Rick retired
    • The first instance of home loss from a DEC burn in 50 years
    • More stringent risk management assessment of the program occurred
    • Despite community anxiety, support for continuation of extensive prescribed burn program remains high (similar to Florida from home losses 5 years ago)
  • These are mature programs, California is in the beginning and we will need patience and the support from the public and politicians
  • We will have problems: Indigenous fire use could help us move forward
  • Hopefully can learn from them and build a program

MT2 Review #

  • Construction of railroad occurred after statehood of CA
  • Colonization from San Fran do San Diego was unique in that it was primarily to set up missions
  • Paiute Forestry was an offensive term that was directed at light burning, calling it ‘primitive’ because tribes practiced it
  • Stuart Show manipulated data to make burnings look more dangerous
  • Canopy fires
    • Higher severity – upper trees aren’t fire adapted like the base of trees
    • Used to be rare pre-1800s, now more common due to build up of surface fuels
    • Latter fuels allow fire to travel up fuel, up to canopies
  • Clinton Walker was an advocate of light burning
  • There is little short-term economic gain to do fuel treatment
  • CA’s first governor (Peter Burnett) supported the Native American protection act and endorsed the war of extermination
  • At least 4.5 million acres were burned annually pre-colonization (1800s)
  • Ron Good claimed that cultural burning was primarily for cultural reasons + increase value of raw materials and increase visibility
  • Harold Biswell was a UCB professor and was an advocate of prescribed burning when it was taboo
    • Was ostracized at the time, but is now recognized
  • Early EU explorer period was different from the Spanish missionary period in that the EUs didn’t settle down and instead explored/traded while the Spanish established settlements
  • Gifford Pinchot was very against any kind of burnings
  • 1910 fire occurred in Idaho and led to many advocating for fire suppression
  • Population reversal of CA Indians occurred due to the finishing of the rail road (letting more people in to CA, i.e during the Gold Rush)
  • Essay Question:
    • Settler colonialism differed from earlier Missionary trips in that…
      • Settler missions went inwards + cared primarily about making money
      • During Missionary trips, Natives were a large part of the workforce and the main purpose to convert them to Christianity
    • Two sides of light burning controversy:
      1. Natives encouraged to burn so that there wasn’t fuel build up, etc.
      2. Foresters who opposed ranchers employing any form of burning, called it Paiute Forestry
    • Settler colonialism impacts
      • Intersection of many invasive plants/animals that radically altered ecosystem (e.x. cattle)
      • Draining of lakes/dams to flood areas (altering ecosystem) and other forms of land modification for the purpose of agriculture
      • Hydrolic mining leading to soil erosion
      • Logging + clear cutting of forests
    • Anderson 2005, settler period
      • Forceful removal – through raids, violence, giving false land titles, destroying food/water source
      • Extermination (killing) – Genocide (Benjamin Madley)
      • Assimilation – Native Children went to school to be whitewashed (re-educated)

How to plan for prescribed burning, comparison with Florida #

  • Prescribed fire definition: A wildland fire burning under pre-defined conditions that will accomplish certain planned objectives. Fire is ignited by people by drip torch or helicopter
    • Whereas cultural burnings exist only for cultural reasons
  • Prescribed burner must integrate:
    1. Weather (present day and forecast)
      • Weather has strongest correlation with severity of the fire + it can change rapidly
    2. Topography
    3. Fuels (load, moisture content)
      • Spotting (embers flying across lines) occurs when fuel is very dry
    4. Ignition patterns (how fair is put on the ground)
      • Art side – factor you can control
      • E.x. head fires, backing fires, strip-head fires
    5. Crew size and experience, where to assign people
    6. Safety (highest priority of all fires)
    7. Risk (all fires have risk, goal is to minimize it and have a plan in place to execute if something goes wrong)
  • Prescribed fire is both art and science
    • You can use science, but it ultimately depends on land/weather
  • Biswell did not take measurements
    • His graduate student Jan van Wagtendonk developed prescriptions for his PhD at UCB

Southeast USA #

  • Forests, savannas, and grasslands of the southern US, well-established history of fire, whether from lightning, Indigenous ignitions, or Anglo-Europeans
  • Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Carolinas, all have great prescribed burning programs
    • Carried down from tradition
      • Burning used to increase productivity of sap for turpentine, decrease hardwoods in timber lots, enhance grazing forage
      • Became a family tradition
    • Plant adaptations diverse: closed cones, large terminal buds, sprouting, bark thickness
      • Longleaf pine
        • Low intensity, frequent surface fire to reduce competition
        • Thick, corky insulating bark
        • Self-pruning at maturity
        • Large terminal bud
        • Chapman studied – Yale
    • USFS tried to eliminate but not successful
  • Kobziar et al. (2015) conducted survey of eastern US burners from in 2011 - 2012
    • Most respondents (75%) were employed by State or Federal forest or wildlife agencies, with the remainder landowners or contractors
    • Fuels reduction primary goal of prescribed burning overall
    • Program continues to be successful
    • Florida burned > 1.2 million acres of forest last year
      • Longleaf pine in <5 year, low intensity, understory, summer, brown rot
      • Big shrub (sand pine) 25-100 year, high intensity, crown, spring or summer, large areas
      • Bald Cypress / tupelo swamp, > 200 years, small area, mixed severity, only during drought
    • Georgia said it surpassed Florida in terms of acres this year
    • Prescribed fire in California - Low - maybe 50,000 acres
  • Brown Administration Bill passed to provide $200 million/yr. for fuels management projects - Apply for grants
  • Continues under Newson Administration and funded through 2028
    • Goal to increase prescribed fire in CA to 1,000,000 acres/yr by 2025: 500k acres State and Private and 500k acres Federal
  • What is our baseline?
  • Cultural burning combined with Rx fire?
  • Task forces created in State to increase pace and scale of restoration and prescribed fire
  • Public lands managers - limited budget and staffing are impediments, also planning issues
  • We don’t have the experience, crews, or political or institutional support in place today for a large program
  • We need to be patient - will take time

Managed Wildfire Effects on Water and Forest Health #

  • Fire and Hydrology in Western US Watersheds - Project Starts 2002
    • Managed Lighting Fire, Increase Forest Resilience
  • Illilouette Creek Basin, Yosemite National Park
    • Fires in occur naturally through lightening here every 9 years
    • 50 years of fire use, 40,000 ac watershed
  • Reburn fires
  • Interactions between adjacent fires
  • Historically open, patchy stands with large trees not everywhere
    • Evidence of small proportions of stand-replacing fire (5-15%)
  • Show and Kotok (1924):
    • “…no large fires occur without a certain amount of heat-killing”
    • “This loss, it should be noted, represents the complete or nearly complete wiping out of small patches of the stand rather than a uniformly distributed loss over the entire area”
  • Vegetation Change from Photos:
    • Fires Reduced Forest Area by 22%
    • Wet meadows increased by 200%
    • Dry meadows increased by 200%
    • Shrublands increased by 30%
  • In Yosemite amount of stream water leaving watershed has increased or remained stable since 1974 - modeling study increased by 60 mm
  • Three other control watersheds significantly decreased
    • Flood risk unchanged
    • Soil water increased
    • Lower tree mortality in drought
  • Since fire suppression ended…
    • Runoff ratio increased or stable
    • Duration of spring snowmelt longer
    • Soil water storage increased, less mortality drought
    • Stream discharge up 3-6%, deep storage up
    • Use of lightening ignited wildfires in Yosemite has provided several benefits to forest and water
    • Indigenous fire could complement lightning fire
  • California is water scarce and is experiencing an increasing number of severe wildfires
    • Despite warming climate, managed wildfires in Illilouette promote a healthy watershed
    • Increased streamflow from wildfires will persist in a warming climate
    • Water agencies supportive of bond funding to manage watersheds but not their base budgets - should change
  • 2020 North Complex Fire burned the largest watershed that feeds the largest lake in the State Water Project (Oroville Lake)
  • Next 1-2 decades absolutely critical in California frequent fire forests
  • Optimistic but we must move decisively

Case Studies of Cultural Burning #

Background On Tribal Revitalization #

  • Timeline
    • 1960s - Watershed time in California
    • 1963 - Leopold Report “Wildlife Management in National Parks”
      • bring fire back to National Park Service
      • Managed Lightning Fires
      • Prescribed Burning
    • 1960s - Also Time of Native Activism in CA
  • Historical Perspective:
    • By the 1960s tribes facing some real structural challenges:
    1. Recovering from Genocide
    2. Little land to call their own Consequence of 1851-52 treaties not being ratified
    3. Many California tribes not federally recognized
    4. Tribes denied access to federal/state lands to harvest plants and animals
    5. Fire Prohibition Policies
      • Fire Exclusion - Spanish, Mexican and Russian Colonists
      • Fire Suppression - American period
        • 1890s - Sequoia and Yosemite
        • 1900s - Elsewhere in California
  • Upshot for Tribes:
    • A. Not allowed to implement Indigenous landscape Stewardship practices
    • B. Poor Health of CA Environments
      • Fire Suppression Policies:
        • Major Impacts to indigenous plants and animals
        • fuel loads increase
        • less ecological diversity
        • loss of patchy mosaic
        • Some Native species disappeared
        • fire adverse species take over
        • hydrology affected
        • some ecosystems - become endangered (e.g., coastal prairies)

Native Activism #

  • 1960s - Native Activism, part of broader Civil Rights Movement in USA
    • Protest series of issues: discrimination, poverty, unemployment, religious freedom, fair housing, broken treaties, lack of resources
    • Natives not given right to vote until 1924 Snyder Act
    • Some states did not allow Indians to vote until 1950s, 1960s
  • 1968 - Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson
    • Guaranteed rights to not only African-American, but American Indians
  • 1968 - when American Indian Movement Founded (AIM)
    • Advocate for rights on Native people
  • 1968-1971 - Occupation of Alcatraz Island by tribes
  • Post-1968 - series of protests, demonstrations, marches for American Indian causes

Tribal Revitalization In California #

  • Last few decades - major renaissance with Tribes
  • Keep in mind that Tribes still facing many issues
    • Poverty
    • Unemployment - not much of a land base, FAR from urban jobs
    • Addiction issues - alcohol, drugs
    • Health issues, such as diabetes, obesity
    • Gang issues with younger tribal members
    • Still explicit discrimination
  • But despite these lingering problems from colonization
    • Major transformations taking place in many tribal groups
    • Restoration of local habitats – Crucial part of this process
    • But need to look as this within broader context
    • Tribal revitalization - involves various facets of Native Life TODAY
  1. Native Languages
    • Estimated that 80-100 languages spoken in California – but many languages endangered
  • Legacy of Colonialism
    • Indian Boarding Schools (late 1800s-mid 1900s)
    • Assimilation Policy of US Government Carlisle Boarding School, Pennsylvania Sherman Institute, Riverside, CA
    • “Civilize” Indian Children away from negative influences of parents, tribes
      • Children forcibly removed from home and sent to Boarding Schools
      • Taught Western ways
      • Speaking Native Languages Forbidden!
    • By mid-1900s - Many Tribes Facing Crisis with Their Languages
      • Only half of Native languages in CA still spoken
    • Leanne Hinton - UC Berkeley
      • 90% of Native Languages in CA may disappear
    • Major Push Today: language training for California tribes
      • The Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
      • “Breath Of Life” workshop Program
      • on Berkeley campus
      • provides training to Indians studying/learning endangered languages
      • historic linguistic tapes and information in Linguistics Dept, Bancroft Library, Hearst Museum of Anthropology
      • Tribal scholars relearn how to speak dormant languages (Mutsun, Chochenyo Languages)
  1. Revitalization Of Native Ceremonies, Dances
    • Many groups involved in reviving spiritual practices
      • Healers, Indian doctors, spiritual specialists
      • Create active dance groups, e.x. Su Su Shinal Kashia Pomo
    • Close Relationship of California Indian religions with Environment
  2. Resurgence Of Native Craftspeople
    • Resurgence of Native Crafts
      • Ron Goode - soapstone artifacts
      • woodcarving - Northwest Coast
      • Acorn spoons, boxes,
    • Basket Weaving
      • Premier basket makers in world
      • Baskets served many purposes in Indian households
      • Challenges for Indian Basket Making
        • by 1980s - only a few active weavers
        • Led to Establishment of California Indian Basket Weaver Association
        • host gatherings, workshops
        • more than 650 weavers today!
        • Major Advocate for Indigenous Landscape Stewardship Practices!
  3. Great Interest In Native Foodways
    • Traditional menus, traditional foods
      • acorn mush, salmon – but also seaweed, tar weed, hazel nuts
    • Pow Wows
    • Tribal food security, food sovereignty
    • Café Ohlone - Bancroft Way - bring to Cal campus
  4. All Of These Developments - tied into Native Landscapes and Environments
    • Most tribes interested in ecological restoration of their lands
    • Implementing some form of indigenous landscape management practices
      • Bring Fire Back To Landscape – Tending The Wild and gaining access to various resources on Public Lands
      • Obtain indigenous foods, medicines, dance regalia, raw materials for crafts

Ecological Revitalization #

Five Case Studies Of Indigenous Stewardship Practices In California

1. Fowler et al #

Fowler, Catherine S., P. Esteves, G. Goad, B. Helmer and K. Watterson 2003 Caring for the Trees: Restoring Timbisha Shoshone Land Management Practices in Death Valley National Park. Ecological Restoration 21(4):302-306.

  • Federally Recognized Tribe working with National Park Service
    • Death Valley National Park
  • Timbisha Shoshone tribe in Southern Deserts
    • Granted federal recognition in 2000
      • Obtained Trust LandsFederal Recognition
  • Right to enter traditional management agreements with Federal Agencies (NPS, BLM)
  • Work out co-management agreement with NPS
  • in Death Valley National Park
  • Co-manage Two Key Resources
    • Honey Mesquite, Single Leaf Pinyon
    • Both used as food, raw materials, etc.
  • Timbisha Shoshone
    • Begin to tend the Mesquite and pine groves in Death Valley
    • Had not been tended in years – in terrible shape!
  • How Undertake Ecological Revitalization
    • While Tribe used Fire to Tend the Land in the Past
    • Current work - using Fire Surrogate Methods – hope to use fire in future
  • Define Study Plots - Leave half of plot as control
  • Other Half of Plot - Tended by Tribe
    1. Trim lower branches of trees
    2. Clear ground of underbrush
    3. Open trees to sunlight
  • Challenges
    • Insect infestations
    • Changes in Hydrology

2. Codero-Lamb et al #

Codero-Lamb, Julie, Jared Dahl Aldern and Teresa Romero 2018 Bring Back the Good Fires. News from Native California 31 (Spring):14-17.

  • Non-Fed Recognized Tribe
    • Work on private property
    • Ecological restoration
  • Southern California
    • Chumash - Santa Barbara Area – only one of tribes federally recognized
    • Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians
    • article about non-federally recognized CHUMASH
      • Aftermath of Thomas Fire in Dec 2017
  • Strong Commitment To Bring Back Indigenous Landscape Practices
    • Bring back good fires
    • recognize issues of working in Chapparal Environments
  • Paper outline difficulties of doing this when not federally recognized, no tribal land
    • No current agreements with government agencies to burn
  • instead - burn on small patches of private land
    • tiny patches tended by Chumash
  • Burn Protocols
    • based on elders, songs, and Scientific Studies
  • Discuss Frequency Or Timing Of Burns
    • Springs - Annually
    • grasses and shrubs for baskets - every 3 years
    • 10-15 years in chaparral
  • Recognize that they must adjust seasonal timing of burns with CLIMATE CHANGE
  • Strong Advocates for Cultural Burning
  • Important Points:
    1. For federal and state to restore environment after years of Fire Suppression
      • Need to incorporate local communities (Tribes)
    2. Get Tribes Involved In All Aspects of Projects
    3. Must Recognize Tek is Valid
    4. Strategic Placement of Tended Lands – can serve as fuel breaks

3. Karuk and Yurok tribes of Northwest California #

Lake, Frank K., and Amy C. Christianson 2019 Indigenous Fire Stewardship. In Encyclopedia of Wildfires and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires, edited by Samuel L. Manzello. Springer, Cham. Lake, Frank K., Vita Wright, Penelope Morgan, Mary McFadzen, Dave McWethy and Camille Stevens-Rumann 2017 Returning Fire to the Land: Celebrating Traditional Knowledge and Fire. Journal of Forestry 115(5):343-353. Terence, Malcolm 2016 Unleashing the TREX: Why Officials Think Controlled Burns Can Save California from Wildfire. North Coast Journal (

  • Federally Recognized Tribe – work with Federal Agency (USFS)
  • Frank Lake – key player in bringing Cultural Burning to California
    • Karuk tribal member and works for USFS
    • well positioned for making a difference
    • publishing widely on cultural burning
    • strong proponent for government agencies, conservation groups
      • to develop collaborative partnerships with Tribes
  • Makes this point in Lake and Christianson 2019 Reading
    • How cultural burning can reduce or mediate impacts of wildfires
    • Important information about burning and stewardship passed down through generations
    • Significance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
      • TEK looks at what works, what doesn’t, and how things change over time
      • Important for us to use/employ today in how we can learn to live with fire in California
  • Frank helping to bring cultural burning back to Northwest California
    • burns taking place on….
      1. Private land (fewer restrictions)
      2. Tribal lands – Yurok have some land
      3. USFS lands – control most of traditional tribal lands in the area

Five Points to emphasize in burning in Yurok and Karuk lands #

  1. Karuk and Yurok Tribes
    • Different process of colonization than Central/Southern California Later in time - post Gold Rush (1848) which is unique
      • Compared to SoCal, where practices were banned early on, Karuk and Yurok have more recent information
      • E.x. Bill Crook learned from his grandma who practiced burns pre-gold rush
    • Considerable Indigenous Knowledge about Cultural
    • Longer continuation of burning
  2. USFS
    • Until fairly recently, have not been receptive to Cultural Burning Until fairly recently
    • Now have Native Californian employees high up in management
      • Can’t be about certain people, should be about policy
      • Otherwise, if these key people retire then we’re screwed!
    • Signed agreements – MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) – between USFS and Karuk Tribe
    • Government To Government Relations
      • Frank Lake et al. 2017 Reading
      • Importance of developing person-to-person relationships and trust workshops, meetings, importance of communication with tribal leaders
  3. Integration of TEK and WS (Western Science)
    • Two Different Ways of Knowing
      1. WS: Prescribed Burning
        • More utilitarian approach – can be tailored to smaller area to achieve specific outcome
        • Emphasize Fuel Reduction
        • Residential Areas (W/U Interface)
      2. TEK: Cultural Burning requires a more nuanced, patch-like approach
        • Need to consider specific resources in a generally large area
        • E.x. burn early for short basket shoots and later for longer shoots
    • Frank Lake argues that …
      • Advocate for integrating TEK with scientific disciplines
      • Use multiple lines of evidence to understand past fire regimes and cultural burning
  4. Federal Agencies - need to respect TEK
    • Work collaboratively with tribes – all phases of projects
  5. Need to Provide Sufficient Funding!
    • To maintain partnerships, Cultural Burning Programs
    • Need to follow through and show commitment to tribes

4. North Fork Mono Tribe #

Ortiz, Beverly R. 2018 Ron Goode: A Life Lived in Service to Community and Environment. News from Native California 31(3 (Spring):18-26. Goode, Ron W. 2015 Tribal-Traditional Ecological Knowledge. News from Native California Spring 2015:23-28. Long, Jonathan W., Frank K. Lake, Ron W. Goode, and Benrita Mae Burnette 2020 How Traditional Tribal Perspectives Influence Ecosystem Restoration. Ecopsychology 12(2):71-82

  • Case Study: Non-federally recognized tribe work on private lands + also develop agreement with USFS
  • North Fork Mono: Major advocates of Cultural Burning
  1. Ron’s knowledge about Cultural Burning comes from his (grand)parents who continued cultural burnings during fire-suppression years
    • Also works with scientists to teach/learn from them
    • Involves other tribes with work to get range of perspectives
  2. Cultural Burning – tied To Spiritual Practices
    • Tribe’s Spiritual Philosophy involves prayers and songs
    • Mother Earth And Creator
  3. Began burning on private property his family owns 2003 - began working with USFS in partnership
    • Meadow restoration project in tribal territory
      • Restore meadow and spring
      • Enhance deer grass (for baskets)
    • Long et al 2017 Reading discusses….
      • Importance of cultural resources (i.e. plants which can be used as medicine)
      • Archaeology
      • Culturally important plants, etc.
      • Differing opinions with USFS
        • E.x. USFS wants to remove all invasive plants whereas Ron argued to leave a few that the tribe would look over
  • 2017-2021 Has been practicing Cultural Burning on private ranch
    • Near Mariposa (Yosemite National Park)
      • Location is associated with major archeological sites
      • Burn for targeted results, as listed below
  • Specific Reasons for Burning
    • Burn for positive result to affect outcomes of targeted cultural resources
      • More than just fuel reduction (which is a trait of prescribed burning)
    • Ron views Prescribed Burning as Industrial Scale burning
    • Cultural Burning: more NUANCED kind of burning – burn treatment depends on cultural resources being enhanced Sourberryimportant plant for food and basketry material
    • Pretreatment before burns
      • Prune vegetation
      • Create burn piles
      • Burn small plots
    • Post-Burn – mix burned soils with water to create a nutritious soil bed

Summary thus far… #

  1. Tribes – need to be treated respectfully
    • Need to establish partnerships in CA
      • Resource agencies, tribes, and researchers
  2. Tribes should be involved in decision making concerning fire management strategies
    • For their traditional lands
    • Bring in at the outset of revitalization plans
  3. Many tribes working with researchers
    • Recognition of importance of TEK and WS
    • Not mutually exclusive! Brought together
  4. Too many regulations in bringing cultural fire back
    • Need to ease up on RED TAPE (based scott)
    • Especially at the Federal level, CA is actually pretty good as far as enabling burning
  5. Dealing with Intrusive species
    • Areas overgrown from Fire Suppression
      • E.x Chapparal
  6. Need Funding for Proactive Work to Manage Environments
    • Funding for pro-active management
    • Funding for environmental revitalization
    • Funding for eco-system corps
    • Maintain programs over time
  7. Possibility of Incorporating
    • Prescribed Burning and Cultural Burning?

5. Amah Mutsun Tribal Band #

Hannibal, Mary Ellen 2016 Rekindling the Old Ways: The Amah Mutsun and the Recovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge Bay Nature April-June 2016:28-35. Lightfoot, Kent G., Rob Q. Cuthrell, Cristie M. Boone, Roger Byrne, Andrea B. Chavez, Laurel Collins, Alicia Cowart, and R. Evett, Fine V.A. Paul, Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Mark G. Hylkema, Valentin Lopez, Tracy M. Misiewicz and Rachel E. B. Reid 2013 Anthropogenic Burning on the Central California Coast in Late Holocene and Early Historical Times: Findings, Implications, and Future Directions. California Archaeology 5(2):371-390.

  • Valentin Lopez – Tribal Chair
  • In Week 5 – discussed eco-archaeological work that UCB and UCSC
    • Partnering with Amah Mutsun + California State Parks
  • Outlined findings employing different lines of evidence
    • Fire scar analysis
    • Pollen/charcoal (wetland coring)
    • Phytoliths – tells us the extent of grasslands
    • Archaeology
    • Ethnography, ethnohistory, tribal history
  • Our Findings:
    • Strong evidence of Cultural Burning
    • Observed fire frequency greater than Expected from Lightning Ignitions Alone
  • Extensive Cultural Burning:
    • Begins about 1300-1200 BP
    • Pattern of frequent, low intensity burns for 9-10 Centuries up to Portola Expedition in CE (Common Era) 1769-1770
    • Create Coastal Prairie Environments,
  • Evidence of grasses, clovers, tarweeds, hazelnuts, etc.
    • Rob Cuthrell talked about this
  • Fire Tenders created a productive, patchy landscape mosaic
    • Burning some patches one to 5 years or so cycle maintain coastal grassland!
    • along with neighboring woodlands, wetlands, and forests with fire-adapted species such as hazelnut, California lilac, and redwood

What Are We Doing With These Findings? #

  • Ultimate Goal Of Research Program
    • How lessons from the past can be applicable to contemporary CA?
    • How these finding may be incorporated into ecological revitalization programs
      • That are rooted in the deep history of tribal practices
    • The Amah Mutsun working with California State Parks
      • Co-managing some lands – Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve MOUs (Frank Lake)
      • Committed to ecological revitalization
        • Understand limitations of fire suppression
        • Bringing back Native plants and animals that once flourished
  • Based on findings from our eco-archaeological findings
    • Tribe – interested in bringing back patchy landscape mosaics
      • That includes extensive patches of coastal prairies which have become rare with fire suppression
        • Encroached on by conifer forests and shrublands
  • Val Lopez and Tribe
    • Created Amah Mutsun Land Trust
    • Purpose is to restore lands in their territory
    • Undertake research
      • Support Native Stewardship Corps
      • Boots on the Ground for work

How we are doing this: #

  1. Select Patches Where we Open up Landscape
  2. Involves Removing Problematic Invasives
    • Poison hemlock, milk and Italian thistle, jubata (Pampas Grass)
  3. Fuel Reduction
    • Use clippers / chainsaws remove brush and small trees
      • Can be used to make burn piles, biswell-style
    • Few places mechanized removal of overgrowth
  4. Where Possible
    • Implement Cultural Burns
    • Begin Process Of Bringing Fire Back
  5. Work To Bring Back Culturally Important Plants in Patches
    • Plants used for food, medicines and raw materials
    • Based on Eco-Archaeological Work
      • We have good information about plants recovered
    • Two Ways:
      1. Patches selected for revitalization
        • Undertake Integrated Cultural Survey
          • Reason: Ama Mutsun have a spiritual obligation from Creator to use fire to take care of ancestral land
          • Goals: (1) To document, protect, and steward cultural and natural resources, (2) locate areas that may be suitable for landscape revitalization + seed collection
          • Landscape components: (1) Non-biological = archeological sites, natural springs, viewsheds, salmon spawning habitat (2) biological = vegetation type and ethnobotany
          • Stratified survey approach: focus on broad areas of flat land near water
        • Include survey to detect ancestral archaeological sites
          • High density of ethnobotanical and culturally-important vegetation (seed and nut foods, basketry and crafting taxa, hazelnut patches)
          • Grasslands being converted to shrublands
        • Also locate other important cultural resources
          • Food plants, medicinal plants
      2. AMLT – Implemented a Native Nursery and Plant Propagation Program
        • Nursery used to raise thousands of plants identified in eco-arch work
          • Tarweeds, California Brome Grass, California Canary Grass, Red maids, yarrow, etc.
        • After propagated in the greenhouse, they plants are moved outside to field beds where they’re then “harvested” for their seeds
        • Enables us to keep rare plants alive
      • Raise seedlings in nursery
        • Some then planted in fields these provide seeds for restoration
      • We will use these seedlings and seeds in our revitalization efforts
      • In Undertaking This Work Hope To Create Fuel Breaks
        • Open Areas – where we can slow down fire, may not stop major fire but provide where calfire can better manage major fire!
        • Hope to Construct Patchy Landscape Mosaic across tribal territory
  • And if strategically designed and placed, can address three crucial concerns today:
    1. Enhance Quantity And Diversity of Indigenous Plants And Animals
    2. Provide Better Food Security For Tribal Members
      • Provide Places for tribal harvesting of native foods, medicines, Dance regalia, raw materials for making baskets, other crafts
    3. Create Extensive Fuel Breaks
      • In critical areas on public lands
      • Help minimize risk of major fires

Eco-System Stewardship Work in CA #

  1. Need to Create New Framework for Caring for our Open Spaces - Active Ecosystem Management - Ecological Revitalization - Need a Separate Stewardship Corps
    • dedicated to this mission - Need to get Tribes and Local Communities Involved! - Marks-Block et al 2021 Reading
    • Discusses why we cannot rely on Fire Suppression people to do ecosystem management
  2. Requires Locally Situated Practices
    • No one size or one way to manage landscape of California;
  3. Employ Various Treatment Plans
    • Depends on Objectives and Options
    • Anderson and Barbour 2003 Reading
      1. Managed Wildfires
        • Simulated Wilderness Management Model
      2. Broadscale Prescribed Burning
      3. Indigenous Landscape Stewardship Practices
        • Cultural Burning
        • Co-Management of Area
        • Simulated Indigenous Management Model
  4. Integration of Industrial-Scale Prescribed Burning with Indigenous Stewardship Practices (Cultural Burning)? Is it possible?
    • Prior to Treatment – Eco-Archaeological Surveys Integrated Approach outlined by Alec
      1. Identify Locations of Archaeological Sites;
      2. Identify patches of important Ecological Resources: Plants important to tribes for food, medicines, materials, etc.
    • If enough time, may be possible to do refined Eco-Archaeological study
      • Soil samples, flotation, recover plant/animal remains and associated tools from archaeological contexts
      • Obtain physical remains of plants and animals that tribes harvested
    • Areas with Important Arch/Ecological Resources:
      • May call for additional or different treatments from rest of prescribed burn area
    • Similar to Cultural Resources Management work in Urban Context
    • Some Cases – Prescribed Burning OK
      • But require additional follow-up treatment
    • Other Cases – need pre-treatment before
      • Prescribed Burn: treat differently from rest of prescribed burn area
    • Ron Goode – pruning, vegetation removal around site or patch reduce fuel loads
    • Scott – San Vicente Redwoods
      • Treat oaks differently than redwoods (different burn treatment)
    • Marks-Block et al 2019
      • California Hazelnut
      • Experimentation
      1. Must Deal with Intrusive Species
      2. Need to initiate long-term maintenance commitment to the Landscape
      3. Costs!

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and Camp Fire (11-22) #

Kramer et al. 2019

  • Two types of WUI – Wildland Urban Interface
    1. Interface WUI - “where houses meet”: 🏠🏠🏠🌲🌲🌲
    2. Intermix WUI - “where houses mingle” (with vegetation): 🏠🌲🏠🌲🏠🌲
      • U.S. WUI was large in 2010:
        • WUI Houses: 43.4 million = 33% of total
          • Around 10% of US population
          • Probably has grown in last 10 years
        • WUI Area: 770,000 km2 = 9.5% of U.S.
          • Concentrated in West
      • U.S. WUI grew rapidly from 1990 to 2010:
        • WUI Houses: 30.8 to 43.4 million – 41% growth

  • WUI Area: 581,000 to 770,000 km2 – 33% growth
    • Due primarily due to housing growth (wrt change in vegetation, or both)
  • Destruction in WUI skewed and highly variable
    • Destruction rates ranged between 0% and 100% (averaged 25% for fires with burned buildings)
    • 70% of all destroyed buildings were in the top 20 most destructive fires

      • Firewise communities
        • Communities that have principles for fire
        • Have evacuation / build material standards
        • Are well located, but many are reactive only after wildfires
        • Tends to be run by volunteers – should aim to try and get more professions / advisors involved
  • CA is a risky place; it’s contained…
    • 12 of the 20 most destructive fires in US
    • 46% of buildings threatened by fire in US
    • 60% of buildings destroyed by fire in US
    • Fire insurance being cancelled
  • Not all buildings are rebuilt
    • In the US, 23% are rebuilt within 5 years
    • In CA, 35% are rebuilt within 5 years
    • In CA, 72% are rebuilt within 20 years (ranging from 13% to 100%)
  • Big differences between affluent and non-affluent communities – fire insurance
  • Strong growth within all fire perimeters:
    • 1981 Atlas Creek Fire - 65 homes burned
    • 2017 Atlas Fire - 781 homes burned
    • Extreme growth within Tubbs perimeter:
    • For every home present in 1940, there were 26 homes in 2010 (2600% growth)
  • Lessons from Tubbs Fire:
    • Occurred due to eastern winds that traveled from high to low pressure, coastal areas
      • Going downhill means faster winds thus hotter fires
      • Additionally, winds can speed up as they move through canyons and mountain spaces
        • Leads to reoccurring burned areas
    • People likely won’t change behavior if incentives are not established
    • Tubbs was highly destructive, and not the norm, but it also was not an anomaly: 6 of the 10 most destructive fires in CA have occurred since 2000
    • People are continuing to build in areas where fire risk is high and suppression is difficult
  • Camp Fire – Butte County
    • Electrical power line started fire which the wind then carried
    • Two ignitions related to power lines
    • 85 people died, >18,000 homes lost over 149,000 acres
    • Most expensive natural disaster in world in 2018 in terms of insured losses
    • Mixture of ponderosa pine forests, woodlands, shrublands
      • 2008 BTU Lighting Complex burned before
    • Worst loss of life in a California wildfire
      • Paradise had practiced evacuating
      • Thought was one of most prepared cities
      • Position of Paradise very hazardous with one road in and out
      • Needs: Better community preparation and forest/woodland management, electrical infrastructure improvements
  • Recommendations:
    • Don’t reduce regulations to speed rebuilding
    • Mandate good building codes
    • Provide resources to people beyond a few years – only 2/3 have rebuilt by 5 years
    • Despite regulations on new building, the best incentive could be from insurance
    • More engagement of public to prepare
  • Australia a Leader in WUI: They have done a much better job of engaging people who live in the WUI

Stephens et al. 2009, Gill and Stephens 2009

  • In U.S. mostly done by volunteer groups, better with UC extension employees
  • Prepare, stay, defend, or leave early – Australia
    • Catastrophic fire danger level with climate change
  • Updated Australia policy after 2009 Black Saturday Fires – 174 people killed
  • Updated Australia Policy
    • PREPARE your family, home or business – know your risk from bushfire and have a survival plan
    • ACT on the fire danger ratings - put your preparations into action, do not wait to get message on your phone or tablet
    • SURVIVE by monitoring conditions if a fire starts
    • Know bushfire warning alert levels and what you will do if you are caught in a fire

Summary #

  • Exposure of human communities to fire in California is huge
  • Communities need to prepare better for fire – UC Cooperative Extension program
  • Forest and woodland management could improve conditions – TEK can assist
  • Chaparral less options
  • Electrical infrastructure needs improvement
  • CA can learn from Australian experience
  • Governor Newson’s and California’s next move?

Class Summary #

  1. As an AC class, a major objective of this course is to examine diverse populations relationship to fire in California
    • Today, while most of us fear wildland fires, that has not always been the case;
  2. Defining fire regimes for local regions of CA:
    • fire frequency, fire season, fire area, fire severity, interaction with other factors;
    • Scott’s Discussions of fire regimes for different CA ecosystems
    • anthropogenic and natural fire regimes;
  3. Long-Term use of fire by Human populations:
    • Important component of human evolution
    • Constructive use of fire over hundreds of thousands of years for cooking, warmth, ceremonial use, etc.
    • people bring fire with them when they colonized new landscapes and places across the globe, including California probably 13,000-15,000 years ago;
  4. Historical Fire Ecology:
    • How we study the history of past fire regimes:
    • Coring lakes to obtain charcoal, pollen, phytoliths
    • Coring trees
    • Wedges from trees for fire scar analysis
    • Other lines of evidence employed: ethnohistorical accounts, ethnography, Native histories (oral traditions)
    • Eco-archaeology (flotation to recover plant animal remains from archaeological sites)
  5. Cultural Burning in California
    • California Indians have lived here more than 13,000 years
    • Traditionally referred to as “Hunter-Gatherers” in anthropology literature,” but best to Refer to Them as “Resource Managers or Landscape Stewards”;
    • Reasons for anthropogenic fires (control pests, remove detritus, open pathways, hunting, habitat revitalization to facilitate growth of tribal foods, medicines, dance regalia, raw materials)
    • Regular, small-scale burning to enhance productivity, diversity, and sustainability of habitats – produce patchy mosaics
    • Holocene times – California characterized byanthropogenic landscape, not “Pristine Wilderness”
    • Controversy about scale and timing of anthropogenic/cultural burning:
    • Central California – evidence for creation of coastal prairies by people 800-1400 CE (Rob Cuthrell, Valentin Lopez – eco-arch Research);
  6. Transformations with Colonialism:
    • Significant impacts of Spanish, Russian, Mexican, and American (settler) colonization: altered fire regimes
    • environmental degradation
    • genocide of Native peoples
    • Loss of land
    • few reservations granted – mostly very small in size
    • many tribes not federally recognized
    • detrimental impacts of fire exclusion and later fire suppression
    • Termination of Indigenous landscape stewardship practices on any major scale, but timing varied across state depending on history of colonization
    • Some loss of Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • TEK (Val Lopez);
  7. The Advent of Fire Suppression:
  • Debate about “Light Burning” in 1880s-early 1900s
    • use of fire by sheep herders and by timber companies
    • establishment of Forest Reserves, USFS (1905)
    • influence of Gifford Pinchot (trained in Europe as discussed by Jameson Karns)
    • Light Burning loses out to total fire suppression
    • influence of 1910 Great Idaho Fire and other factors discussed by Scott
    • fire suppression really develops in WWII and Post-war years
    • Smokey the Bear, etc.
  1. Impact of Fire Suppression on local Ecosystems:
    • Fire suppression methods very effective: 98-99% of fires out at less than 5 acres in size
    • Major implications for taking fire out of ecosystem: increase fuel loads (ladder, surface, crown fuels), increase density of vegetation, fewer open areas, vegetation that is more homogeneous, encroachment of shrubs and trees, loss of grasslands, meadows, spring (Scott, Brandon Collins)
  1. Post-Suppression Times:
    • Importance of Leopold Report in 1963 for National Parks and otherfederal and state agencies
    • USFS, NPS and others
    • experiment with prescribed burning, managed fires, and various fire proxy methods, including manual thinning, mechanized removal of vegetation, etc. (Jim Agee, Jan van Wagtendonk)
    • In regard to prescribed burning, California nowhere near what Florida does. Much more needs to be done here!
  2. Tribal Revitalization in California - important concern of Tribes: Health of Environment, work to bring back Indigenous Stewardship Practices - ecological restoration of Tribal Lands - push to bring Cultural Burningand other stewardship practices back to the land: Five Case studies discussed: Timbisha Shoshone (Death Valley) - Chumash (Santa Barbara) - North Fork Mono Tribe (southern Sierra Nevada Mts.) - Karuk And Yurok Tribes (Northwest California) - Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (Central Coast of California);
  3. The Future: Rethinking how we manage open spaces, public lands, wildland/urban Interface in California:
    1. Use of Managed Fires where possible (Yosemite Case Study)
    2. Need much more prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads, develop fuel breaks, forest restoration, etc. Also employ manual thinning and mechanized vegetation removal when burning not a viable option;
    3. Need to bring back Indigenous landscape management practices, including strategic use of Cultural Burning (more nuanced treatment of specific resources)
      • Create partnerships with Tribes and Federal and State Agencies
      • Can we combine prescribed burning and cultural Burning in some areas of California? We think so and are working on it…
    4. Proposal: Establish a Stewardship Corps for California that is dedicated to active ecosystem management
      • Implement programs for training and certifying prescribed burn managers (like Florida)
      • Fund stewardship corps work throughout year (prescribed/cultural burns in winter, spring, late fall)
      • Create local/regional stewardship districts where corps undertakes regular maintenance of the land (like painting the Golden Gate Bridge) – tailored to specific local ecosystems
      • Composition of stewardship corps would include people from local tribes and members of local communities – create career Opportunities;
    5. New policies and regulations: fire insurance, zoning issues (try to decrease further development in Wildland/Urban Interface?)
      • Mandate good building codes to fire-proof homes and surroundings – especially after major fires
      • improve electrical infrastructure of California
      • advocate for more community participation to prepare for fires
      • increase funding for UC Extension to work with communities to better prepare for fires;