ECOLOGICAL RECOVERY FROM CATASTROPHIC HISTORIC DISTURBANCE IN THE SIERRA NEVADA: IMPLICATIONS FOR CONTEMPORARY LAND MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES.
Daniel W. Shaw; California State Parks; PO Box 377, Tahoe Vista, CA, 96148; (530) 525-9535; daniel.shaw@parks.ca.gov; Luke J. Zachmann, Brett G. Dickson
I use a case study of California State Parks in the Sierra Nevada to discuss ongoing recovery on lands that were among the most degraded in the American West. David Beesley's book Crows Range, An Environmental History of the Sierra Nevada, compares the impact of logging, mining, grazing, and chronic burning in the 1800s to an ice age in terms of complete landscape alteration. Parks inherited lands at the epicenter of this disturbance, including mining sites such as Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park and Plumas Eureka State Park. Ongoing recovery under a stewardship approach including both preservation and conservation has implications for social and ecological land management challenges such as forest health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. Incorporating historic disturbance into our understanding of contemporary forest and land condition also helps inform current critiques of public land management. Our recently published empirical data from a long-term forest stewardship program in the Lake Tahoe Basin indicates a promising story for naturally recovering lands as well as lands managed with prescribed burning. Consideration of a combination of management approaches that compliment ongoing recovery from historic disturbance could benefit public land planning efforts in the face of alarming climate change, wildfire, and other challenges.
The Anthropocene: Recovery & Re-Wilding