Publication Date

Fall 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Charlotte Sunseri


Adaptive Management, Collaborative Management, Ecology, Forest Restoration, Sierra Nevada, Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Subject Areas

Behavioral sciences; Ecology; Forestry


Forest restoration in the Sierra Nevada is receiving increased attention due to climate change, increasing populations in the wildland-urban interface, and the historical mismanagement of some forests, evidenced in part by the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires in recent years. In response to an urgency to implement restoration in the absence of consensus on the best ways to proceed, public land managers practice collaborative management approaches to ameliorate antagonism between stakeholders and allow restoration projects to proceed when agreement is difficult to achieve. Stakeholders often include representatives from local community groups, environmental organizations, private industry, and—notably—tribal groups, who hold traditional ecological knowledge recognized as valuable for informing land management perspectives, methods, and assessment. In response to apparent ambiguities surrounding the theoretical and practical dynamics of tribal collaboration within forest restoration projects, my study employs an ethnographic approach to identify the complexities that occur between local tribal communities and the United States Forest Service within one CFLRP project: The Dinkey Collaborative, located in California’s Sierra Nevada. Through participant observation and in-depth interviews within the collaborative, I present parallel and divergent conceptualizations of the collaborative process among tribal and agency participants.