The CNPS San Luis Obispo monthly meeting is Thursday, June 7 at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall. From 7:00 to 7:30 pm we will have the usual social part of our monthly meeting, followed at 7:30 by a chapter business meeting.
Program: The Ethnobotany and Associated Stewardship of California Black Oak/Mixed Conifer Forest Ecosystems in the Central and Southern Sierra Nevada as a Model for Restoring Forest Health: Ethnobotany professor Kat Anderson.
Kat Anderson has a Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science from UC Berkeley and is the author of the book Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources. The book was recently chosen by the celebrated permaculture designer Ben Falk, as one of the most important books to read in order to permanently solve food security. Kat has worked with Native Americans for over 25 years, learning how indigenous people judiciously gather and steward native plants and ecosystems in the wild. Her interests are to learn about, celebrate, and restore the similar plant uses, gathering and tending practices, and ethical stances towards nature that are in multiple local cultures here and all around the world.
This talk will discuss the importance of California black oak and associate trees and understory species of the mixed conifer forests to the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada for food, clothing, basketry, ﬁrewood, medicines, and household utensils. The audience will learn about the tremendous stewardship legacy of Sierran Tribes: how they knocked the oak trees with long poles and pruned the branches which helped shape the trees canopies and removed dead or dying wood, and may have spurred new fruitwood growth. Black oaks were managed at the ecosystem level with frequent, low intensity Indian-set ﬁres, in order to open up the forest, promote widely-spaced large-canopied, long-lived oaks and conifers with less insects and pathogens, foster useful legumes, and encourage edible and medicinal mushrooms. I will explore some of the potential results of indigenous stewardship that may contribute to forest health including enhanced mycorhizzal relationships with oaks and conifers, nutrient cycling, soil fertility, enhanced soil moisture-holding capacity, and biological action in the soil.