Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Forest Resilience

Our next meeting will be at 6:00 pm on Tuesday June 7th at Turtle Rock Park.  Dr. Jonathan Long, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service and Rhiana Jones, Environmental Program Director with the Washoe Environmental Protection Dept. will be making a joint presentation on Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) with respect to forest management.  Dr. Long will be giving an overview on TEK throughout California and Ms. Jones will be discussing the practices of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

Abstracts:  Jonathan Long will discuss how Indigenous stewardship, including cultural burning, can support restoration of ecosystems and community well-being in the Central Sierra Nevada region.  He will discuss historical fire ecology studies, recent interdisciplinary studies, and current policy and planning initiatives to guide management of forests before, during, and after wildfires, and how interests of Indigenous communities like the Washoe Tribe align with these efforts.

Rhiana Jones will relate how the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California has been stewards of the Lake Tahoe Basin and the surrounding land for thousands of years.  Today, The Washoe Tribe continue to be stewards of the land through restoration, fuels reduction and mitigation, and climate resiliency projects while still finding ways to honor and continue our culture and traditions.  Fire as a land management tool is gaining momentum not only in the prescribed fire world but within tribes as well.  Many tribes, including the Washoe Tribe traditionally used fire for land management and modern-day cultural fire practices are being revitalized.  The Washoe Tribe is working towards a cultural fire program to train tribal members in basic firefighting and prescribed fire techniques to better protect their homelands in the face of climate change and drought, and to learn from our past to better protect our future.

Biography:  As a research ecologist with the Pacific Southwest Research Station in Davis, California, Jonathan Long has led a variety of interdisciplinary research projects to help land managers sustain and restore forests and wetlands in California, the Lake Tahoe basin, and Arizona.  Special interests include restoration of black oak, wet meadows, and other ecocultural resources important to tribes.  He worked previously for the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Rocky Mountain Research Station, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona.

Miscellaneous:  With respect to a possible biomass-to-bioenergy plant in Alpine County exploratory discussions are ongoing between a potential developer and Liberty Utilities.  The discussions are at a very early stage and time will tell if they bear fruit.

The Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group (ACCG) and the South Fork of the American River Cohesive Strategy (SOFAR) are holding a Post-Fire Restoration Symposium July 14th and related field tour July 15th.  It will highlight ongoing monitoring and research in the Power Fire and its application in post fire restoration planning (e.g., the Tamarack Fire).  Registration and more information are available here.  The field tour has limited capacity so first come/first serve.

Future Meetings:  Our July meeting will feature Susie Kocher of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department who has been studying what worked and what didn’t regarding restoration after the 2007 Angora Fire in the Tahoe Basin.  Please send suggestions for future speakers to  Presentations need to be on topics that relate to our mission statement.

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