Managing California black oak for tribal ecocultural restoration
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): J. W. Long; R. W. Goode; R. J. Gutteriez; J. J. Lackey; M. K. Anderson
Publication Year: 2017

Cataloging Information

  • California black oak
  • climate change
  • communities
  • cultural burning
  • ecosystem services
  • fire intensity
  • fire severity
  • forest management
  • landscape management
  • Native Americans
  • Quercus kelloggii
  • Reduction
  • Sierra Nevada
  • TEK - traditional ecological knowledge
  • thinning
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 14, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 55688
Tall Timbers Record Number: 33762
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Many tribes in California and Oregon value California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) as a traditional source of food and other values. Over centuries or millennia, Native Americans learned that they could enhance production of desired resources by regularly igniting low-intensity surface fires in stands of black oak. Although black oak is likely to remain widespread in the future, a warming climate, increasingly dense forests, and altered fire regimes threaten the large, full-crowned mature trees that produce crops of high-quality acorns and provide cavities for many wildlife species. To examine the effects of different kinds of burns on tribal values including associated plants, fungi, and wildlife of special cultural significance, we reviewed and synthesized scientific studies of black oak in conjunction with interviews and workshops with tribal members who use the species and recall burning by their ancestors. We conducted two exploratory analyses to understand trends in large black oaks and potential tradeoffs regarding black oak restoration. Our findings identify opportunities for reintroducing low-intensity fire, in conjunction with thinning, to restore stands that are favorable for acorn gathering. We present examples of such projects and discuss how to overcome challenges in restoring the socioecological benefits of black oak ecosystems for tribes.

Online Link(s):
Long, J. W., R. W. Goode, R. J. Gutteriez, J. J. Lackey, and M. K. Anderson. 2017. Managing California black oak for tribal ecocultural restoration. Journal of Forestry, v. 115, no. 5, p. 426-434. 10.5849/jof.16-033.