Unlike the well-studied, large conifer forests of the northern Sierra Nevada, southern California conifer forests are less-studied and represent only about 8% of the landscape. But much like the forests to the north, these valuable ecosystems are at risk of type-converting to other vegetation types.Read More
A 2019 study by Meyer and others showed that the reestablishment of natural fire regimes can be highly effective at restoring the structure and understory diversity of red fir forests but have little effect on the health of red fir under increasing moisture stress associated with drought and warming climate.Read More
Do you have any idea just how valuable chaparral is? Most of us don't realize that these often overlooked lands provide essential benefits worth billions of dollars. The four southernmost forests in California actually contain more chaparral shrubland than forest. This animation describes the benefits and values of these often under-appreciated lands.
View on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-8KFNr1c9oRead More
The rugged, chaparral dominated Angeles National Forest (ANF, California) is a beautiful and popular recreation destination. However, it is being damaged by a combination of overwhelming anthropogenic stressors, including climate change-induced mega-droughts, unnaturally shortened fire intervals, very poor air quality (e.g., high levels of nitrogen deposition), and the invasion of non-native groundcover plants.Read More
This brief discusses and compares the two methods used to estimate historic tree densities of the Sierra Nevada. The study suggests that density estimates from distance-based estimators support the historical density estimates derived from timber inventories and reconstructions.Read More
This brief is based on a synthesis that covers recent research documenting effects of introducing fire in fire suppressed forests, provides necessary background information to understand the breadth of the problem, provides realistic management solutions to reduce impacts and defines monitoring techniques to identify treatment effects.Read More
This brief describes the advantages and evolution of postfire epicormic resprouting, where trees resprout from the trunk or stem of trees. This form of resprouting is more rare than resprouting from the base of plants and occurs in Australia and South Africa, as well as in California, the Mediterranean Basin and the Canary Islands in the northern hemisphere.Read More
Fire is a strong driver of changes in montane forest structure in California’s Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade mountain ranges, which provide much of the snowpack and associated water storage for the state of California. This paper investigates how fire can influence snowpack and water storage.Read More
This research brief looks at changes in land cover, water, and forest health within the Illilouette Creek Basin in Yosemite National Park. This basin has a unique fire management history, with most areas burned in the last 40 years. Results suggest that fire has had a positive influence on a number of the Basin's ecosystem functions.Read More
Five different Mediterranean Type Ecosystems (MTEs) around the world have evolutionarily converged in function with analogous vegetation types. With gorgeous photographic samplers to illustrate each type, we learn why these fire-adapted systems host more biodiversity than every other terrestrial ecosystem outside of the wet tropics.Read More
Old-growth chaparral systems are biodiversity hotspots that need to be protected for legal, functional, and ethical reasons. This learning module describes these Mediterranean Type Climate systems from a global perspective so that we can better protect them.
View Research Brief PDF >Read More
In northern, southern, coastal, and interior California, examples exist of paired sibling Arctostaphylos subspecies exhibiting two alternate life strategies for surviving disturbance: resprouting and obligate seeding. This is a wonderful opportunity to observe how natural selection might favor one life strategy type over another, particularly in “an era of rapid climate change."Read More
Resprouting plants are common throughout the world and resprouting is a familiar response to any kind of disturbance that kills living tissue. Resprouting is a seemingly simple trait that has complex underlying morphological and anatomical origins among diverse evolutionary lineages.Read More
This long-anticipated reference and sourcebook for California’s remarkable ecological abundance provides an integrated assessment of each major ecosystem type—its distribution, structure, function, and management. A comprehensive synthesis of our knowledge about this biologically diverse state, Ecosystems of California covers the state from oceans to mountaintops using multiple lenses: past and present, flora and fauna, aquatic and terrestrial, natural and managed.Read More