Thomas M. Alcoze, Ph.D. - Professor Emeritus

alcoze Research Interests

Ecological restoration, wildlife ecology, indigenous conservation knowledge, fire ecology.

Restoration, Ecology, and Land Use Practices of Native American Nations in the Southwest

Our research initiative involves the reconstruction of historic environmental or reference conditions prior to European Settlement in the southwest and the role of Native American management and land use practices in wildland ecosystems of the Grand Canyon. these studies focus on a reexamination and synthesis of existing knowledge from published literature and the acquisition of new knowledge based on the oral traditions of contemporary Native American nations. the combination of information from diverse sources will be used as intersection liens of evidence to illustrate Native American influences on the sustainability of resources of the Grand canyon region.

Determining reference conditions is a central theme in restoration ecology. Reference conditions are being established using vegetation and wildlife assemblages occurring in association with human occupation and environmental conditions prior to European settlement in the southwest. Archeological and ethnographic sources provide precise and reliable information to reconstruct the environmental condition representative of specific sites within the Grand Canyon region. The species composition presented in archeological middens reflects the animal and plant communities used by indigenous people for food, medicine and construction materials. Pollen analysis results are used to indicate additional plant species not directly associated with human activities. Composite reconstructions of historic environmental conditions can be e successful when information from archeology, ethnology, ecology and restoration are combined in an interdisciplinary context.

Native American harvest strategies function as management and conservation technologies capable of maintaining the abundance and diversity of natural resources over long periods. Sustainable approaches to resource use include landscape scale habitat manipulation, extensive burning and horticultural practices, long-term harvest of surplus, rotation harvest, redistribution of abundant resources, and selective use based on temporal and spatial variables. Indigenous cultures during pre-European contact and early historic times were a significant factor associated with the maintenance of sustainable environments in North America. This knowledge can provide a framework for the development of viable models that have relevance for the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.


B.A., University of North Texas, 1969
M.S. University of North Texas, 1972
Ph.D., Michigan State University. 1981

Contact Information

Office: Building 82 - Room 126
Phone: 928.523.5972

Selected Publications

Alcoze, T. 1996. Restoring Synergistic Human-Wildlife Systems: Managing Ecosystem Complexity for the Twenty-First Century. Adaptive Ecosystem Restoration and Management: Restoration of Cordilleran Conifer Landscapes of North America. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM-GTR-278.

Alcoze, T. 1996 Case Studies in Science Education: Native Science in the Classroom. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA. Video format 54 min.

Alcoze, T. 1994. Learning form the Land: Native Education as an Extension of the Environment. Tradition, Change and Survival. World conference: Indigenous Peoples Education. Wallengang, Australia.

Alcoze, T. 1991. Earth Alive, Circle Whole. National Park Service. Earth Work. Vol. 1, No. 7:29-33.

Alcoze, T. 1988. Native Science and Modern Medical Practice. First Nations House of Learning. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Video format 44 min.