May 16 Speaker Series – People, Plants and Fire

“Trends and cycles over the last 150 years in Sonoma, Lake, and Napa Counties” Presentation by Arthur Dawson, Historical Ecologist, founder of Baseline Consulting

Presentation: Historical ecologist Arthur Dawson will present the findings of a three-year CALFIRE-funded study conducted in partnership with Pepperwood’s, Mark Tukman, and Dr. Jim Thorne. Arthur will trace the story of fire and vegetation in the North Bay over the last 150 years. Integrating a wide variety of sources reveals the surprisingly dynamic patterns of chaparral, hardwood and conifer woodlands in response to wildfire, timber harvest, and wildfire suppression.

It took generations to set the stage for the catastrophic fires of the last decade. It will take several more to change that trajectory. Altering course is going to require hard work on the ground guided by a deeper understanding of the relationship of fire, vegetation and the role of human beings in the landscape.

Arthur Dawson, Historical Ecologist, founder of Baseline Consulting

Bio: Arthur Dawson enjoys exploring the local landscape through science and art. As an historical ecologist he has collected oral histories from local elders and contributed field and archival research to regional restoration efforts. His unique approach integrates fieldwork, oral histories and archival research to tell the story of places and people at every scale, from small parcels to entire watersheds.

An independent consultant, Arthur has worked with the Sonoma Land Trust, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Pepperwood Preserve, CALFIRE, the Sonoma County Water Agency, UC Berkeley and many other agencies, organizations and individuals.

As a writer, Arthur has published several articles in scientific journals and written three local bestselling books: The Stories Behind Sonoma Valley Place Names, On Foot in Sonoma (with Rebecca Lawton) and most recently, Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images. He has also published a book of poems through Finishing Line Press, Saying this Place Right. His column on Sonoma County place names appears monthly in the Press-Democrat.

Arthur lives with his wife Jill in Glen Ellen.

Zoom link to Arthur Dawson’s presentation