Blue oaks are endemic to California, occurring only within a narrow range that includes valleys and low slopes of the Sierra Nevada foothills and the Coast Ranges. In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, blue oak woodlands are a prominent habitat in the parks' foothill landscapes. These woodlands host high species diversity, have cultural significance, and are the first scenery that visitors encounter as they enter the parks. Though oak species are thought to be tolerant to high temperature and aridity, the 2012-2016 severe drought raised concerns about mortality of oaks in the parks. An aerial survey by the Forest Service displays on a broad scale how oak stands were affected by the drought across California. Before 2017, blue oak woodlands were not monitored in the parks, so we didn't know the answers to these important questions:
What is the extent of tree mortality in the parks' blue oak woodlands? Are blue oaks at risk over the long-term or will they be able to recover while faced with continued climatic change?
New Data Collection Begins
In spring 2017, we collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey and measured how many and what type of trees had died in the parks blue oak woodlands. We also set up long-term plots for continued monitoring through time.
We Need Your Help
Spend a day in the field helping us to remeasure trees and see how our oaks are doing. Volunteers will learn and practice basic forest demography skills and contribute meaningful data to our project so that we might better understand this special environment! Contact us at (559) 565-4287 or email us if you'd like to participate.
Last updated: October 18, 2023