“Can eating caterpillars reduce wildfire damage in forests? Traditional gathering by the Nüümü People influences pines, caterpillars, wildfire, and defoliating moths.”


Owens Valley Station

with Dr. Jeff Holmquist, UCLA-WMRC. Tuesday, April 16th, 2024. 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. PST. In-person. Owens Valley Station, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop, CA. This event is Free & Open to the Public.

Project collaborators include:
Bishop Paiute Tribe: Raymond Andrews, Tom Gustie, Maggie Flaherty, Bishop Tribal Youth
US Forest Service: Michèle Slaton, Jacquie Biedl, Marc Meyer
UCLA IoES White Mt Research Center: Jeff Holmquist, Jutta Schmidt

Abstract: The Nüümü People have traditionally harvested Pandora Moth caterpillars (piagi) as these larvae descend Jeffrey Pine trees in order to pupate in the ground.  Fallen needles and branches are cleared away from the trees to be harvested, and a trench is created around each tree.  Descending caterpillars are captured by the trenches and cooked as food.  Our Tribal-USFS-WMRC team hypothesized that the traditional clearing and digging of trenches around trees might reduce tree damage from wildfires.  An ensuing wildfire showed that there was indeed less damage to trees that had been prepared for harvesting, and a number of complex ecological interactions are becoming apparent.

Event Status: Scheduled

Price: Free

Audience: Public

Attendence mode: In Person