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Forest Research and Outreach Blog

UC IPM Releases Management Guidelines for Goldspotted Oak Borer

UC IPM released a new Pest Note in January 2013 on the goldspotted oak borer.  This Pest Note has the first official UC guidelines for managing the pest.

PHOTO: Life states of the goldspotted oak borer. From left: fourth-instar larva, fourth instar larva in a hairpin configuration and in a constricted form, pupa and adult. Photo by Mike I. Jones
First identified in California in 2004, the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB), Agrilus auroguttatus, has killed more than 24,000 oak trees in San Diego County since its arrival, probably in the late 1990s.   In 2012, it was detected in Riverside County and it is expected to spread northward in the state. 

The most seriously damaged oaks are those in the red oak group including coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia, and black oak, Q. kelloggi.   It also infests canyon live oak, Q. chrysolepis but has not been found to kill the other native oak species in the area, the Englemann oak, Q. englemanni.  So far losses have been most serious in parks and forested areas, but landscape trees are also being killed.

A new Pest Note from the UC IPM program outlines management guidelines for this serious pest. Flatheaded borers such as GSOB are difficult to manage and seriously infested trees cannot be saved. The primary way GSOB spreads into new areas is through the movement of infested wood and the authors recommend leaving infested wood on site for 2 years. If wood is to be moved, the Pest Note provides guidelines for treating it through containment, grinding, and debarking. Guidelines for replanting infested areas, less susceptible oak species, biological control, insecticide applications and developing GSOB management plans are also described. 

Many other borers attack oaks but do not kill trees. GSOB infested trees can be distinguished by the characteristic D-shaped emergence holes it leaves behind. A special feature of the Pest Note is a table illustrating the emergence holes of borer species on southern California oaks. Many photos are also included.

The information in this Pest Note: Goldspotted Oak Borer is based primarily on research studies by the authors:  Mary Louise Flint (UCIPM and Entomology/UC Davis), Tom Coleman and Steve Seybold (USDA/US Forest Service), and Mike Jones (Entomology/UC Davis).  Find it at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74163.html



Posted on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

This Earth Day, UC pushes for healthier California forest lands

Reposted from the UCANR Green Blog

California forests aren’t natural anymore. Over time, human impacts such as logging and fire suppression have left forests more prone to diseases, insects and wildfires. UC Cooperative Extension received a competitive grant from Cal Fire to launch a forest management training program for private landowners to help protect California’s forests.

There are approximately 33 million acres of forest in California. Forty percent of those acres are owned by families, Native American tribes, or private companies and 27 percent are owned by individuals. According to a report by the National Woodland Owner Survey, 99 percent of family-owned forests are in parcels of 500 acres or less. Less than 1 percent of them had written management plans when surveyed.

Management plans are important — they lead to healthier forests. And healthier forests benefit everyone in California. They protect against devastating wildfires, make for healthier rural communities, better wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and increase carbon sequestration, among other benefits.

The UCCE Forest Stewardship Training Series makes it easy for landowners to create a forest management plan. By creating a written plan, landowners are forced to sit down and think about their goals and objectives, and essentially create a business plan. It’s also an important document when communicating with other professionals, such as bankers, accountants, granting agencies, etc. A management plan lays out the background of the forest, the landowner’s objectives, and the steps the landowner has taken or is taking to achieve those objectives.

Landowners are encouraged to start the process through an online e-learning site. Through the webinar, landowners learn how to set goals and objectives for their forest land and become familiar with their forest land by learning to understand tree management, wildlife, and water quality, recognize insects and diseases, and understand safety and roads. Once the landowner has set their goals and gone through the basic understanding training, they are connected with a professional forester to continue the land management plan process.

Upon completing the online training, landowners are invited to an all-day workshop for a more in-depth understanding of forest land management. Workshops will take place in Ukiah on May 18, Redding on May 29, Berkeley on June 15, and Auburn on June 22. Visit www.ucanr.edu/forest_learning for more information, or contact Rick Standiford, UC Cooperative Extension Forest Management Specialist, at standifo@berkeley.edu  

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Community forests, a novel idea right here in our own backyard

In the mid-20th Century, the City of Arcata purchased 622 acres of redwood forest and created the first city-owned forest in California. The current 2,350-acre Arcata Community Forest has a multiple use management plan that focuses on recreation, timber management, and watershed values, among other things. The forest provides tremendous aesthetic value and numerous recreational opportunities to the City of Arcata.

In the late 1990s, the Bureau of Land Management considered a land trade that could have compromised the town of Weaverville’s scenic surroundings. Driven by an appreciation for the forests surrounding their town, the residents of Weaverville sought to be included in the decision-making process. With considerable persistence, the Trinity County Resource Conservation District was able to gain a seat at the same table as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. The ensuing partnership enabled the collective management of 13,000 acres of land surrounding Weaverville in the form of a community forest.

View of Weaverville Community Forest from California Route 3

Firewood Sale, Weaverville Community Forest
The concept of community-based forestry has been around for several decades, but recently, land ownership changes, increasing regulations, and a decline in the timber industry have forced rural forested communities to think outside the box. In places such as Arcata and Weaverville, this thinking has allowed profits from surrounding forests to be invested right back into local forest land. For the residents of fire-prone Weaverville, this could mean projects ranging from fuel reduction to lower the risk of fire around town, or the creation of more trails for skiing, biking, or walking. Such projects can be funded by community forest firewood sales or timber sales.

Logging in the Weaverville Community Forest
So, what are community forests and why are they any different than other forms of forest management? Community forests are part of the community-based forestry movement that encourages everybody to get involved in local forest management. Although stakeholders- from commercial foresters to private landowners to environmental organizations to local, state, and federal agencies- often have conflicting goals, community-based forestry can bring stakeholders together because it promotes forest health and it benefits the local economy.

Building and testing a new trail in the Weaverville Community Forest

The advantage of a community forest is that it provides things the community itself identifies as priorities, such as biomass generation, firewood sales, education opportunities, and improved trail systems and access roads. With all of the stakeholders engaged and working toward common goals, community forests provide tangible positive examples of the benefits of collaboration.

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Using Cal-Adapt.org to get a local snapshot of the future climate in California


By 2008, the Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) led by the California Energy Commission (CEC) had collected more than 150 peer reviewed reports on climate change, had funded dozens of researchers and organizations investigating climate change scenarios, and produced thousands of statewide GIS (geographic information system) data layers depicting downscaled climate projections across the state. The agency had a number of needs: they wanted relevant information presented in easy to understand themes and topics, they wanted interactive maps and charts providing a variety of approaches to explore different aspects of climate change; and they wanted improved access to primary climate change data in GIS and tabular formats.

The agency wanted to develop an innovative web based platform to increase access to the wealth of climate change research and data being produced by the scientific community in California. They wanted a platform that addressed multiple types of publics: we wanted to address the general public, who want to learn about climate change data relevant to their area, we wanted to address local planners and technicians, who need to obtain meaningful information and data to help guide locally relevant climate action plans and adaptation strategies, and we wanted to address the scientific community, who need to access primary data relevant to an area of interest.

We at Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) (http://gif.berkeley.edu) worked with the CEC to develop the “Cal-Adapt” analysis platform as an open source, web-based GIS and visualization project.  The Cal-Adapt.org website is a new resource for the state of California that: 1) hosts a wealth of GIS data on modeled climate futures, 2) allows users to visualize past and future projected climate layers in a map framework, 3) provides all the data for download. This blog gives you a quick look around the website. Please feel free to explore the site, and your own area.

Cal-Adapt's development is a key recommendation of the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy: “The California Energy Commission will develop the Cal-Adapt Web site that will synthesize existing California climate change scenarios and climate impact research and to encourage its use in a way that is beneficial for local decision-makers.” – Page 9, 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy.

The Climate Background

Scientists studying climate change usually frame climate discussions in terms of four climate scenarios, of which two had been downscaled for California by Scripps Institution of Oceanography called “B1” - The lower emissions scenario, and “A2” - The medium-high emissions scenario. Scientists use a multitude of different global circulation models, each developed and run at different scientific labs, project how the climate will change under each of these two scenarios. Four of these were models were used by scientists at Scripps and made available to Cal-Adapt:

NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research Parallel Climate Model (PCM1);

CCSM - Community Climate System Model Version 3.0 (CCSM3);

GFDL - Geophysical Fluids Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL) CM2.1; and

CNRM - Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques.

Each model uses different assumptions and drivers and can lead to differences in their outputs, so there is an advantage to using a variety of these models when conducting analyses.

Local Snapshot Example: Eureka and Humboldt County, California.

Humboldt County, located in Northwest California, is the southern gateway to the Pacific Northwest. The County is bound on the north by Del Norte County; on the east by Siskiyou and Trinity counties; on the south by Mendocino County and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The County encompasses 2.3 million acres, 80 percent of which is forestlands, protected redwoods and recreation areas. Humboldt County faces a range of changes to its local climate: temperature, snowpack, fire regimes and sea level. Each of these can be explored with Cal-Adapt Local Snapshot tool.

Changes in Temperature

For example, if you want to explore the temperature changes projected over the next century, you can use our local climate snapshot tool. Figure 1, left, is the projected change in annual average temperatures across in Humboldt County’s under a low carbon emissions scenario (B1). The map above shows the projected difference in temperature between a baseline time period (1961-1990) and an end of century period (2070-2090).

In some areas of California, such as San Bernardino County, the average annual temperature is expected to go up by as much as 4°F (low emission scenario) to 7°F (high emission scenarios; in Humboldt County, temperatures are expected to increase by between 3° F to 5°F (low emission to high emission scenario). 

Changes in Snowpack

Figure 2, right, shows the projected changes in April snow water equivalence (SNWE) across Humboldt County under a high carbon emissions scenario (A2). The map shows the projected difference in snow water equivalency between a baseline time period (1961-1990) and an end of century period (2070-2090). According to the projections, in some areas of California, up to 25 inches of snow water are expected to be lost in April over the next century. In Humboldt County, the modeled historical average snowpack is 2.91 in. Under the low-emissions scenario, snowpack is projected to be 88.5% of that amount; under the high-emissions scenario, 98% of snowpack is projected to be lost.  These drastic projections are thought to be the results a combination of factors including not only a decrease in preciption, but an earlier melt given warmer temperatures.

Figure 3, left, shows areas vulnerable to a 100 year flood event as sea level rises. The blue areas on the map indicate areas already in threat today, while the lighter shades are areas projected to also be in threat given the expected sea level rise. Humboldt County has a long coastline, with considerable areas of coastal wetlands that might be vulnerable to sea level rise. According to the projections from the Pacific Institute, 18% more land in Humboldt County may be vulnerable to a 100 year flood with a 1.4m sea level rise. 43,067.4 acres are vulnerable now, with a 1.4m sea level rise, 52,607.3 acres could be at risk. Some areas of the state, including the San Francisco Bay Area face increases of up to 40+% in areas vulnerable to sea level rise.

Changes in Fire Regime

Figure 4, right, shows projected increase in potential amount of area burned in 2085, as compared to present risk, across Humboldt County under a low carbon emissions scenario (B1) for the CNRM model. The darker oranges displayed on this map above suggest up to a 3-fold increase in potential area burned. Other areas in California have a higher risk, for example, Siskiyou, Modoc and Shasta Counties have high projected increase in fire risk in the next century. These data and projections come from UC Merced: Climate Applications Lab.

Information Sharing

The website allows for sharing with your colleagues in a range of ways. You can create links that save your zoomed map with all its content and visualization choices, and these are shareable through Facebook and other social media projects:

You can also use many other sharing tools:

 Data Downloads

In addition to the examples above, there are many other data available for visualization and download at the Cal-Adapt.org website. For example, you can view and download monthly layers, from 1950-2099 for the following datasets: Actual evapotranspiration, Average temperature, Baseflow, Fire, Fractional moisture in the entire soil column, Maximum temperature, Minimum temperature, Net surface radiation, Precipitation, Relative humidity, Runoff, Snow water equivalent, Soil moisture at bottom layer, Soil moisture at middle layer, Soil moisture at top layer, and Wind.  These data can be downloaded in a range of formats, over any date range, and directly integrated into your own GIS or modeling software package.

More Information:

The site has been developed by UC Berkeley's Geospatial Innovation Facility (GIF) with funding and advisory oversight by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program, and advisory support from Google.org.  The data used within the Cal-Adapt visualization tools have been gathered from California’s scientific community, and represent the most current data available wherever possible.  Learn more about the variety of scientists and organizations that have contributed data and resources to Cal-Adapt. For more information about mapping for a changing California, see Maggi Kelly’s website at: http://kellylab.berkeley.edu.

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Upcoming meeting in Hopland will focus on prescribed fire as a resource management tool

Ignition of a prescribed burn in Humboldt County to reduce conifer encroachment into a natural prairie (Y. Valachovic photo).
The next meeting of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council will take place on April 25-26 at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in their brand new conference center. 

The Northern California Prescribed Fire Council (NCPFC) is a collaborative group of scientists, land managers, tribes, NGOs, and other organizations and individuals interested in issues surrounding the use of prescribed fire. The goal of this diverse coalition of scientists and managers is to “increase understanding and acceptability of prescribed fire in the public realm, while working together…to improve techniques, increase training opportunities, and ameliorate permitting and other regulatory hurdles” (from NCPFC website).

The council holds two meetings each year in different locations across the north state; the meetings include research and management presentations, as well as field tours of different prescribed fire projects. The upcoming meeting will include presentations by a range of scientists and managers, including Ken Pimlott (CAL FIRE Director), Sarah McCaffrey (USFS Northern Research Station), Dennis Martinez (Indigenous Peoples’ Restoration Network), and others. The second day will include a field tour of the 4,600 acre property and research site.

Prescribed fire councils have formed across the country in the last couple of decades, and when the NCPFC formed in 2009, it joined more than 25 other state and regional councils (see map below). The first prescribed fire council was established in Florida in the 1980s, and more councils are forming every year. Though councils were once unheard of in the western US, they are now becoming more common, and recent years have seen the development of a Washington statewide council (2011) and, just last year, a new council in the southern Sierra Nevada region of California.

Participation in NCPFC meetings continues to grow, and over 100 people attended each of the two meetings in 2012. If you have an interest in fire ecology and management, or if you’d like to incorporate fire into your forest or range management practices, attending this or a future meeting could be well worth your time to 1) network with other folks that share your interests, and 2) learn new techniques and approaches for managing fire and fuels in California.

As a recent participant commented, “the council does an excellent job at bringing together different stakeholders from the fire community in productive interchange. The more collaboration between agencies, researchers, regulators, and the public the better! And on top of that, these meetings are lively and fun - the value of building camaraderie in the fire community should not be underestimated.”

For more information, visit these websites:

Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM

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