Log in

Editor's Picks

Seedlings examined by Oak Interest Group
The Oak Action Group of Farm Forestry New Zealand is...
Kathryn Hurr | Jun 10, 2020
john_fairey1.jpg
Remembering John Fairey, legendary plantsman and founder of...
Adam Black | May 21, 2020
quercus_x_vilmoriniana_proce_nantes_0159.jpg
An intercontinental artificial hybrid raised at Arboretum...
Roderick Cameron | Apr 12, 2020

Plant Focus

Quercus acutissima subsp. kingii
Quercus acutissima Carruth. is a species whose natural distribution covers a vast territory in East and Southeast Asia, from central Nepal...

The Oaks of Silicon Valley from the 1850s to Today

PDF icon Full text available for IOS members only. If you are a member, you need to log in.
To create an account click here; if you have already registered, click here to become a member.

Erica Spotswood, Robin Grossinger, Steve Hagerty, Erin Beller, April Robinson, and Letitia Grenier

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 85–92

Abstract

Many cities in California have been established in areas that were historically dominated by native oaks. In these landscapes, dramatic transformation has often occurred, leading to the replacement of native oaks with many non-native trees. While these transformations are well known, relatively few efforts have been made to quantify the extent of change. Here, we draw on historical and contemporary datasets from the cities in what is known today as Silicon Valley to compare the composition and structure of the modern urban forest to the historical landscape. We show that there have been dramatic shifts in forest structure and composition, including large increases in the species richness of trees, a near total loss of understory herbaceous vegetation, and a loss of large trees. These changes suggest that a reintroduction of native oaks could help to increase the ecological functions of the urban forest.

Keywords

California oaks, historical ecology, urban forestry, Quercus lobata, Quercus agrifolia

References

Beller, E., M. Salomon, and R. Grossinger. 2010. Historical Vegetation and Drainage Patterns of Western Santa Clara Valley: A technical memorandum describing landscape ecology in Lower Peninsula, West Valley, and Guadalupe Watershed Management Areas. Oakland, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute. 

Beller, E., A. Robinson, R. Grossinger, and L. Grenier. 2015. Landscape Resilience Framework: Operationalizing ecological resilience at the landscape scale. SFEI Publication #752. Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center. 

Bolton, H.E., J. Díaz, F.T.H. Garcés, F. Palóu, P. Font, T. Eixarch and J.J. Moraga. 1930. Font’s complete diary of the second Anza expedition. Vol. 4. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Cooper, W.S. 1926. Vegetational development upon alluvial fans in the vicinity of Palo Alto, California. Ecology 7(1): 1-30.

Jackson, R.D., and J.W. Bartolome. 2007. Grazing ecology of California grasslands. In California Grasslands: Ecology and Management, edited by M.R. Stromberg, J.D. Corbin, and C.M. D’Antonio, pp. 197-206. Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Keeley, J.E. 2002. Native American impacts on fire regimes of the California coastal ranges. Journal of Biogeography 29: 303-320.

Kenderdine, T.S. 1898. California revisited. 1858-1897. Newtown, PA: Doylestown Publishing.

Mensing, S. 2015. The Paleohistory of California Oaks. In Proceedings of the Seventh California Oak Symposium: Managing Oak Woodlands in a Dynamic World. General Technical Report PSS-GTR-251, coordinated by R.B. Standiford and K.L Purcell, pp. 34-47. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station.

Minnich, R.A. 2008. California’s Fading Wildflowers: Lost Legacy and Biological Invasions. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Powell, D.C. 2008. Using General Land Office Survey Notes to Characterize Historical Vegetation Conditions for the Umatilla National Forest. White paper F14-SO-WP-SILV-41. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Umatilla National Forest.

Simpson, J.R., and E.G. McPherson. 2007. San Francisco Bay Area State of the Urban Forest Final Report. Davis, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Center for Urban Forest Research.

Spotswood, E.N., Grossinger, R.M., Hagerty, S., Beller, E.E., Grenier, J.L., Askevold, R.A. 2017. Re-oaking Silicon Valley: Building Vibrant Cities with Nature. SFEI Report # 825. Richmond, CA: San Francisco Estuary Institute. 

Whipple, A.A., R.M. Grossinger, and F.W. Davis. 2011. Shifting baselines in a California oak savanna: nineteenth century data to inform restoration scenarios. Restoration Ecology 19(101): 88-101.

White, A.S. 1976. Evaluating Land Survey Notes to Determine the Pre-Settlement Structure of the Lubrecht Forest, Montana. Masters thesis, University of Montana. UMI # EP41144.