As part of a series of articles on interdisciplinary environmental research at Stanford, the Stanford Report has just published a nice piece on the research on Aboriginal burning in Western Australia led by Rebecca and Doug Bird. This work is supported by a grant from the Woods Institute Environmental Venture Project fund as well as a major grant from the National Science Foundation. We have a fairly recent paper in PNAS that describes some of the major findings, which I have written about previously here.
We’ve got some exciting things in the works as a follow-up to this paper thanks to the EVP funding. These include agent-based models of foraging and its effects on landscape development and new statistical methods for characterizing the scale and pattern of burning-induced landscape mosaics. We’re also hoping to move into some comparative work across foraging populations and to expand upon the ecological interactions between human foragers and plant species upon which they depend.