Aug 2, 2017

Could restoring lost ecosystems to cities play a role in building ecological resilience across landscapes? In Re-oaking Silicon Valley, a new report by SFEI, we explore this opportunity in our region. Both beautiful and functional, native oaks can be excellent choices for streetscapes, backyards, and landscaping. Requiring little water after establishment, oaks can save money by reducing irrigation requirements while sequestering more carbon than most other urban trees common to our region. Oaks are also foundation species, forming the base of a complex biotic community that forms the most diverse habitat type in California.

Synthesizing ecological science, historical data, and contemporary landscape analysis, Re-Oaking Silicon Valley investigates the potential for California cities to benefit from the re-integration of native oak ecosystems into the urban fabric. The report evaluates the critical role played by oak woodlands in California landscapes, the changing characteristics of Santa Clara Valley’s urban forest, and the potential for enhancing biodiversity through ecologically-based urban design. The report also considers the diverse array of benefits native oaks offer to urban communities—from drought-tolerant temperature modulation to deeper connections to nature and a greater sense of place.

Funded by Google’s Ecology Program, the project is a part of Resilient Silicon Valley, which is developing a scientific foundation to guide investments in regional ecosystem health and resilience. Providing an array of specific guidelines for urban forestry and landscaping, Re-Oaking Silicon Valley begins to envision how we could design the more ecologically healthy and resilient cities of the future.

We welcome you to download Re-Oaking Silicon Valleyor learn more about SFEI's broader Re-Oaking work.

Associated Staff: 
Other Contributors: 
Steve Hagerty
Erin Beller
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Terrestrial Ecology
Urban Nature Lab