Re-Oaking

“Re-Oaking” is an approach to reintegrating oaks and other native trees within the developed California landscape to provide a range of ecosystem services. The concept has emerged from SFEI's research into the distribution and characteristics of California's former valley oak savannas -- a distinctive, widespread habitat that was mostly lost a century ago. Now valley oaks and other native trees are being recognized for the benefits they did -- and could again – provide, as communities design the ecologically healthy and resilient landscapes of the future.

Re-oaking in Silicon Valley

The potential for re-oaking is being explored in Silicon Valley, formerly known as Llano de los Robles (Valley of the White Oaks).
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Valley Oaks: an Ecological Journey through Time - A Collaboration with California Academy of Sciences (2012)

A collaborative program with the California Academy of Sciences produced an immersive tour from the canopy to the cosmos inside Morrison Planetarium, exploring the history and ecology of one of California’s most iconic and threatened tree species, the Valley oak. Academy scientists, indigenous partners, and historical ecologists from the San Francisco Estuary Institute revealed how Valley oaks and humans are intertwined in a relationship of disturbance and adaptation, with implications for the health and well-being of Bay Area communities. The first NOAA-funded Worldviews Network event on the West Coast, this program was simulcast to partner institutions across the United States. A post-presentation dialogue was held with regional partners and public audiences after the show.

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The SFEI/California Academy of Sciences/Worldviews Valley Oak team

Contact

For more information on re-oaking contact Robin Grossinger

Project Downloads

Shifting Baselines in a California Oak Savanna: Nineteenth Century Data to Inform Restoration Scenarios (5.9 Mb)

Poster (PDF) 2009 for the State of the Estuary Conference
Re-Oaking the Valleys: Bringing Native Trees Back into California’s Suburban Landscapes (2.7 Mb)


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Poster (PDF) 2009 for Reburbia Design Competition
Re-Oaking the Valleys: Bringing Native Trees Back into the Bay Area’s Suburban Landscapes
(0.4 Mb)

Further Reading

Napa Valley Historical Ecology Atlas
The Napa Atlas (University of California Press, 2012) explores the grand oak savannas of the 19th century in the iconic Napa Valley, their sudden loss and surprising resilience, and the potential for re-oaking.

Shifting Baselines in a California Oak Savanna: Nineteenth Century Data to Inform Restoration Scenarios (This article in Restoration Ecology (2011) initiated the re-oaking concept in California)

Oaks in the Urban Landscape: Selection, Care and Preservation
This publication by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources offers a comprehensive look at the management of oaks in urban areas, and includes a section by SFEI on "Oak Landscapes in the Recent Past."

Historical Reconstructions of Valley Oak Savanna

Coyote Creek Historical Ecology Study and GIS data
South Santa Clara Valley Historical Ecology Study and GIS data
Western Santa Clara Valley Historical Ecology Study and GIS data
East Contra Costa County Historical Ecology Study and GIS data