Sudden Oak Life workshop at Sienna Ranch on Oct. 23

28 09 2011

Sienna Ranch, Lafayette, CA

Sudden Oak Life Workshop

Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Times: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm (free), 1 to 4 pm ($40)

Location: Sienna Ranch, 3232 Deer Hill Rd., Lafayette, CA

Contact: Lindsay Daley (707-889-3744)

Learn how to improve and restore the health of the oak ecosystem in this enlivening workshop with “Sudden Oak Life” oak tree expert and scientist, Dr. Lee Klinger.

For thousands of years the native California people tended oak forests and other food-producing ecosystems using prescribed fire and other methods of traditional land management. Now-a-days, with the suppression of fires, oaks and other trees are experiencing accelerated rates of decline in many parts of California, as witnessed by spread of epidemics such as sudden oak death.

Join Dr. Klinger as he demonstrates various “fire mimicry” methods to help the oak ecosystem flourish. Demonstrations will include a variety of practical, hands-on techniques, and we will treat several grandmother valley and live oaks on the ranch. All treatment methods are organic, and no synthetic chemicals are used. Details will be presented on how fires and fire mimicry methods act to improve the fertility of soils and the health of trees, and results will be shown of case studies involving a suite of techniques and natural products to restore oak trees.

Lee Klinger, MA PhD is an independent scientist and ecological consultant from Big Sur, CA with over 25 years of professional experience and over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of biogeochemistry, forest ecology, and soil science. Dr. Klinger has worked as a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and has held scholarly appointments at the University of Colorado, the University of Oxford, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Sudden Oak Life workshop at Lyngso on Oct. 15

27 09 2011

Sudden Oak Life Workshop

Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011

Time: 10 to 11:30 am

Location: Lyngso Garden Materials, 19 Seaport Blvd., Redwood City, CA

Phone: 650-364-1730

Fee: $5

Register: Sudden Oak Life workshop at Lyngso

For thousands of years the native California people tended oak forests and other food-producing ecosystems using prescribed fire and other methods of traditional land management. Now-a-days, with the suppression of fires, oaks and other trees are experiencing accelerated rates of decline in many parts of California. By revisiting the practices of the native people we are provided an effective means of intervening in the decline of trees without the use of synthetic chemicals. Details will be presented on how fires and fire mimicry methods act to improve the fertility of soils and the health of trees. Results will be shown of case studies involving a suite of techniques and natural products to restore oak trees.

Lee Klinger, MA PhD is an independent scientist and ecological consultant from Big Sur, CA with over 25 years of professional experience and over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of biogeochemistry, forest ecology, and soil science.  Dr. Klinger has worked as a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and has held scholarly appointments at the University of Colorado, the University of Oxford, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.





Restoration of oaks in Sonoma using fire mimicry

26 09 2011

Last week I visited an oak grove in Sonoma where restoration efforts using fire mimicry began in 2009. Several of the coast live oaks had symptoms of Sudden Oak Death, and many other oaks were in rather poor health. Underbrush was cleared, dead branches were pruned, mosses and lichens were removed from the trunks, minerals were applied to the soil along with compost and mulch, and the trunks sprayed with a mineral-rich lime spray.

After this work began several of the oaks have since been heavily impacted by some new home construction. Despite this, most of the impacted oaks have shown a noticeable improvement in their health over the two year period. The photos below show the results.

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Stewarding oaks with fire mimicry

19 09 2011

Last week I visited several groves of coast live oaks in the Bay area (Los Altos Hills, Woodside, and Oakland) that were treated one year ago for the first time using fire mimicry protocols. This post shows the results so far.

While Sudden Oak Death was (and still is) present in the nearby oaks, all of the oaks in the photos were uninfected with Sudden Oak Death at the time of treatment and remain uninfected after one year. As you can see most of the oaks are showing improvement in canopy density, some more than others, although a few are showing no noticeable change. The no change condition is not a poor result as it indicates that the canopy health of the oaks has not deteriorated. Also, it is not unusual for oaks to take three to five years to respond fully to the fire mimicry treatments. Still, it is encouraging to see that most of the treated oaks are experienced a noticeable flush of new growth in just the first year.

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New study of Appalachian forest fire history

9 09 2011

A new study of tree rings and fire scars by Charles Lafon, associate professor of geography at Texas A&M University, describes the fire history of forests of the southern and central Appalachian Mountains. His findings are consistent with and relevant to the forest dynamics in California, and provide support the use of fire mimicry methods in mitigating forest decline.

Fire-scarred oak in Santa Barbara. Photo by Lee Klinger.

Here are some excerpts from the Science Daily report:

“We know that Indians often set fires to clear areas”

“Many tree species that inhabit fire-prone areas have thick, protective bark,” he points out. “Some trees depend on fires for their own reproduction. One such tree is the Table Mountain Pine. Through a feature called serotiny, its cones often will not open to release the seeds unless they are heated by a fire, ensuring that the new seedlings emerge at an optimal time to survive and grow — right after a fire has cleared away the competing vegetation.”

“The decline in fire frequency during the 20th century, for example, permitted tree species like red maple to encroach into pine and oak forests. Now the pines, oaks and other fire-associated species like the Peters Mountain mallow are declining in abundance”

Read the entire article here.

Note the similarity of these results to those from the study of oak forests from the Upper Midwest reported here.