Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)
College of Arts and Sciences
Stephanie A Siehr
Wildfires are currently ravaging California, destroying the land and the livelihood of many vulnerable communities. This research explores the value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) as a tool to aid in the fight against wildfires. Revitalization of Native American culture and traditional practices, such as prescribed burns, can transform current fire management practices. This research examined the connections among three aspects of fire management: Native American TEK, non-native ecological field studies and modelling, and current government fire policies and management practices. Through primary interviews and case studies, this research found that the Native American communities in the West have a wealth of knowledge on fire management. A key challenge is how to help non-native scientists understand and quantify place-specific TEK so it can be implemented in today's practices. Barriers such as fire suppression, human encroachment in the wildland-urban interface, and restrictions in state and federal regulations make it difficult for tribes to perform their time-tested practices. Increased trust between non-native scientists and native scientists is needed to implement their TEK, and collaboration is needed to develop new fire management strategies for resilience in man-made climate disruption.
Mishima, Christopher, "A Comprehensive Look at the Benefits of Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Native American Indigenous Communities for Fire Management Practices in Northern California" (2020). Master's Projects and Capstones. 1017.