Historical Ecology

Historical Ecology synthesizes diverse historical records to learn how habitats were distributed and ecological functions were maintained within the native California landscape. Understanding how streams, wetlands, and woodlands were organized along physical gradients helps scientists and managers develop new strategies for more integrated and functional landscape management. more >

Manager: Robin Grossinger

Meetings and Events

There are no scheduled events.

Featured Projects

News and Notables


How does responsible stewardship of a cultural landscape balance history and ecology?


Several new CRAM training tools and enhancements are now available on the CRAM website and EcoAtlas.


The Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) is a GIS-based decision support tool under development for estimating riparian zones at the watershed and/or project scale. The tool provides reach-scale functional riparian width estimates based on average height of mature riparian vegetation, the steepness of hillslopes adjacent to the channel, and the floodplain inundation extent for large storm events. The appropriate width estimate for a reach is then determined based on the riparian functions associated with different channel types, which range from steep headwater channels to low-gradient, meandering channels with broad floodplains.


The recent EcoAtlas release delivers new functionality and enhancements to the Landscape Profiler, a tool that summarizes ecological information at various spatial scales for assessment, planning, and reporting. Users can upload a KML file, edit the boundary, and save a polygon for their area of interest. Additional datasets are summarized in the Landscape Profile Report, including the revised 2011 National Land Cover Dataset, eelgrass survey data along the coast from Humboldt Bay to San Diego Bay, and percentages of languages spoken from the US Census data. A date slider helps to visualize the extent of eelgrass surveys over time.


"SFEI could make art objects out of its reports and sell them"


An interactive map showing riverine-tidal interface types around San Francisco Bay has been launched!


This report provides the first analysis of landscape ecology metrics in the pre-disturbance and contemporary Delta to help define, design, and evaluate functional, resilient landscapes for the future.


Press for the North San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Study "...richly diverse estuaries that made themselves anew as competing forces of saltwater and freshwater claimed their space."


SFEI participated in Chinese Whispers: Bay Chronicles, a project combining science, art, and community. The project, led by Chinese Whispers creative director Rene Yung, retraces the history of Chinese shrimp fishing in San Francisco Bay, through sailings on the Grace Quan, a 43-foot replica of a 19th century Chinese fishing shrimp junk, to former shrimp fishing sites around the Bay.