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.

Collaboration with California Academy of Sciences
Valley Oaks: an Ecological Journey through Time

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.

ReOaking_Worldviews_atCalAcad_IMG_6002_resize.jpg
The SFEI/California Academy of Sciences/Worldviews Valley Oak team

Project Downloads

Journal Article (PDF) 2011 in Restoration Ecology
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)


SFEI_Reburbia2.jpg
Poster (PDF) 2009 for Reurbia 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, Spring 2012) explores the grand oak savannas of the 19th century, 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 (article in Restoration Ecology 2011)

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