Since 2006, together with colleagues at UC Berkeley, CA State Parks, UC Santa Cruz, BLM, the National Park Service, the Muwekma Ohlone and Amah Mutsun Tribes, and numerous private property owners in the Monterey Bay region, SFEI has spearheaded an effort to better understand and chronicle the role of California's Tribal Nations in the relationship between humans, fire, and the landscape in Central Coastal California.

As an expansion of SFEI’s Historical Ecology Program, and as part of SFEI's new Center for Resilient Landscapes, this study represents a growing institutional effort to better understand the role of tribes in shaping California’s extraordinary productivity, biological diversity, and resilience prior to major Euro-American modifications. The study of human modification of the landscape over thousands of years of tribal tenure in California has great potential to inform contemporary solutions to a suite of environmental challenges. Paired with SFEI’s tested historical ecology methods, we explore disciplines such as dendroecology (tree ring analysis), palynology (pollen and sediment core analysis), archaeological site information, archaeobotany, stable isotopes and others, all in an effort to deepen our understanding of potentially more resilient and healthy future landscapes.

So far, our Central Coast ethnoecology work, and that of our partners, has resulted in two book chapters, 12 peer-reviewed articles, 2 governmental publications, 4 popular articles, and 3 supplemental reports to the Joint Fire Science Program.


available from the Joint Fire Science Program

Further information

available at Quiroste Valley Research


Joint Fire Science Program
National Park Service
Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
California Department of Parks and Recreation
UC Berkeley
Ford Foundation

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Location Information