Traditional Ecological Knowledge; Ethnobotany; Range Management; California grassland restoration
Today most California grasslands are dominated by non-native annual grasses, but just a few hundred years ago they consisted of native perennial bunchgrasses and annual forbs, and were a vital part of a cultural landscape that provided abundant food and material resources to high densities of California Indian people. Grassland restoration efforts tend to focus on native perennial bunchgrasses, and there is less attention paid to the role of native forbs in grassland restoration, or to the possibility of using traditional management techniques to increase the abundance of native forbs. Pre-European grassland management in California involved regular burning and reseeding to maintain vigorous populations of annual wildflowers, or forbs, including redmaids (Calandrinia ciliata), goldfields (Lasthenia spp.), clarkias (Clarkia spp.), popcorn flowers (Plagiobothrys spp.), miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor), clovers (Trifolium spp.) and many others. My research project uses traditional ecological knowledge and collaboration with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to inform restoration goals at Pinnacles National Park. We will conduct an experiment that tests burning and seed sowing as restoration techniques for culturally significant native forbs in an invaded California grassland.