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Title: Restoring California black oak to support tribal values and wildlife

Author: Long, Jonathan W.; Quinn-Davidson, Lenya; Goode, Ron W.; Lake, Frank K.; Skinner, Carl N.;

Date: 2015

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-251. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 113-122

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Mature California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) trees are a keystone for many Native American cultures and support important ecological values. Black oaks depend on low-intensity, relatively frequent fires to reduce competition from conifers, yet they are also vulnerable to intense fires. Restoring mature, large canopy oaks that produce high quality acorns for tribal gatherers will depend upon reestablishing a more frequent fire regime. However, in many areas that have become overly dense, thinning treatments, out-of-season burns, and/or relatively severe fires may be needed to reopen the forest and reduce fuel levels before more traditional use of fire can achieve desired outcomes. Treatments that enhance acorn production may conflict with policies to maintain high forest canopy cover and decadent structures that support some sensitive wildlife species. However, both acorn gathering and habitat for sensitive species can be supported by adopting a landscape-scale strategy that sustains black oaks in a variety of conditions and plans for gaps and decadent areas based upon their relative suitability. Restoration of California black oak would not only sustain tribal values and wildlife habitat, but it would also promote greater ecological resilience in dry, frequent-fire forest types in the Sierra Nevada and throughout its range.

Keywords: California black oak, cultural burn, ecosystem services, landscape restoration, prescribed burning, resilience, traditional ecological knowledge

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Long, Jonathan W.; Quinn-Davidson, Lenya; Goode, Ron W.; Lake, Frank K.; Skinner, Carl N. 2015. Restoring California black oak to support tribal values and wildlife. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. cords. Proceedings of the seventh California oak symposium: managing oak woodlands in a dynamic world. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-251. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 113-122.

 


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