Flames Bring Death but Sparks New Life

Monday, November 30 -0001 Written by

EARTH                                                        WATER                                                   AIR                                              &                                        FIRE

Do [caption id="attachment_12548" align="alignright" width="145"] Image credit: United States Forest Service (USFS)[/caption] you remember the Smokey Bear campaign created by the United States Forest Service (USFS)? It provoked fear in people to believe fire is always bad. Truth is, all elements are necessary to a healthy ecosystem, including FIRE.   https://blog.nature.org/science/2013/05/15/good-fire-bad-fire-an-ecologists-perspective/ In the Sierra Nevada, fire is deeply integrated to the cultural and natural practices of the North Fork Mono tribe. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is one of the first few National Parks where prescribed burning has been introduced. In the 1940's, scientists noticed no sequoia seedlings were sprouting and later they concluded that fire is essential to the life cycle of sequoia trees. Now, you can find sequoia seedlings all across recently burned areas in the park. Fires in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are managed by the successors of the North Fork Mono tribe, California Fire Department and National Parks Service fire crews. Ron W. Goode, Tribal Chairman of the North Fork Mono tribe, likes to participate in the prescribed burns in the park. They have managed fires all across their home for more than 8,000 years! Therefore, their Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is key to successful and sustainable resource management practices.  

Listen to this short NPR clip of an interview with Ron W. Goode:   Californians Look To North Fork Mono Tribe For Drought Solutions

  The combination of TEK with Western Science is tricky, but essential to learning about the world around us in a holistic way. By applying TEK and Western science together, a problem can be approached from multiple perspectives and thus offers a different way of addressing cultural, environmental and ecological issues. To understand these two perspectives a bit easier, I provided a table to compare and contrast the different knowledge approaches. The following table was found on this US Forest Service publication: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Fire Science

 Western Science

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

 Employs the written word Is recorded and transmitted orally
Taught and learned in an abstract context Learned through hands-on experience
 Natural world is inanimate Natural world is animate, spiritual
Humans can control nature All life has kinship, is interdependent
Reductionist in approach Holistic in approach
Analytical thinking mode Intuitive thinking mode
Mainly quantitative Mainly qualitative
Specialist/selective information Inclusive/user-based information
Hierarchical/ vertically organized Reciprocity/community organized
Hypotheisis/theoretical/general laws Spiritual/cumulative/collective/annually validated
      https://www.vox.com/2016/6/5/11852762/native-indigenous-science-environment   Fire Ecology and how natural and cultural resources are necessary for a healthy environment.   [caption id="attachment_12888" align="aligncenter" width="311"] Ron W. Goode, the North Fork Mono Tribe Chairman, after his oral history lesson on the importance of cultural burning as a method of healing the land.[/caption]
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