Full Name
Obi Kaufmann
Job Title
Speaker Bio
“Humanity’s Deep Time Residency in California, an Ecological Perspective”

Since the end of the last Ice Age, humanity has been the primary force that has driven the character of California’s ecological distribution and configuration. Over the past five hundred years, the stress vector that humanity has imposed on California’s landscape structure has geometrically increased, eroding bioregional resiliencies while generating novel design systems that have forever transformed ancient patterns of adaptivity. With the advent of the global climate and biodiversity crises, how is California responding to this legacy of human stewardship, and what may lie in store in the near and far future? Join bestselling author and ecological philosopher, Obi Kaufmann, for a multi-disciplinary presentation through the long history of California’s anthropogenic landscapes, and what the implications mean for the quality of humanity’s continued residency in this dynamic place.

Obi Kaufmann is an award-winning author of many best-selling books on California's ecology, biodiversity, and geography. Most famously, his 2017 book The California Field Atlas, currently in its seventh printing, recontextualized popular ideas about what he calls “California’s more-than-human world”. Following his initial Field Atlas, his next books, the State of Water; Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource, and The California Lands Trilogy: The Forests of California, The Coasts of California, and The Deserts of California present a comprehensive survey of California’s physiography and its biogeography in terms of its evolutionary past and its unfolding future. An avid conservationist, Obi Kaufmann regularly travels around the state, presenting his work and vision of ecological restoration and preservation from the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildland Center to the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Most recently, Obi was the 2023 artist-in-residence for the National Park Service at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and his latest book, The Deserts of California, won the 2024 Book Award for California Lifestyle from the California Independent Booksellers Association. You can catch him every month in conversation with author and tribal chairman Greg Sarris in their podcast called Place and Purpose. A lifelong resident of California, when he isn’t backpacking, Obi Kaufmann makes his home base in Oakland and has just finished the manuscript of his sixth book. Published by Berkeley’s Heyday books, it will be available everywhere this fall and is titled The State of Fire, Why California Burns. You can follow his work on Instagram at @coyotethunder.
Obi Kaufmann