Pinnacles event to explore traditional use of fire


A panel presentation scheduled for Wednesday at the University of California, Berkeley will explore the traditional use of fire in the coastal mountains of Central California, while a related field trip is set to follow Saturday at Pinnacles National Park.
First, the presentation was scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Archaeological Research Facility, Room 101 at UC-Berkeley. The field trip portion was set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the east side of Pinnacles at the campground.
At Pinnacles, the group will take a walk up to one of the park’s study sites with all of the primary research participants. They should bring sturdy walking shoes, water, sun protection and a lunch, according to an announcement about the events. Participants should meet at 11 a.m. in front of the East Side Visitor Center. For more information or directions, call Brent Johnson at (831) 389-4486, ext. 259.
As for the talk Wednesday, the announcement stated the following:
The members of the panel will discuss the results of an eco-archaeological project, funded by the Interagency Joint Fire Science Program, which is examining the hypothesis that local tribes influenced patterns of fire occurrence and resulting vegetation in the coastal mountain regions of Central California. The project brings together a team of ecologists, archaeologists, environmental historians, indigenous peoples, and land managers within a research and educational framework that combines the methods of paleoecology, historical research, and archaeology with indigenous knowledge to address issues concerning traditional methods of prescribed burning as a management tool for enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem health and vigor. While the project is investigating three separate study areas within the traditional tribal territory of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, this panel will focus on findings from the Pinnacles National Park study area. Panel participants will outline the findings from five interdisciplinary techniques employed in the study of past anthropogenic burning: fire scar dendrochronology, phytolith analysis, archival research on fire history, traditional knowledge of landscape management practices, and archaeology.
Panelists include Timothy Babalis (National Park Service), Rand Evett (UC-Berkeley), Brent Johnson (National Park Service), Kent Lightfoot (UC Berkeley), Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun Tribal Band) and Chuck Striplen (San Francisco Estuary Institute, UC Berkeley).

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