Oak Habitat Recovery Projects
Enhancing and Restoring a Lost Legacy
Did you know that 98% of oak the habitats in the State of Oregon no longer exist? Over thousands of years oak tress have nurtured the soils of the valleys and hills west of the Cascade mountains throughout the western United States. Year after year these majestic trees have contributed nutrients and shade to a multiplicity of vegetation types in the region. That same richness is the reason why millions of acres of oak habitat has now been converted to farms, orchards and pasture lands. Now that western Oregon and Washington have been discovered as a prime wine grape growing region the level of concern has become very sensitive. Add to that the extensive expansion of suburban subdivisions and you can see why a crisis exists.
Interested in establishing an oakscape on your urban or suburban property? Here’s a free pdf guide. This guide is well written and thoroughly explains many options.
Have more land and want the benefits of various types of oak habitats? Connect with the Umpqua Oak Partnership. UOP is a collaborative of private landowners, non-profit organizations, Oregon State University Extension Service and government agencies. It is a friendly and well informed group.
Oak trees are considered surrogate species. The concept is very similar to keystone species. The idea is that the web of life associated with oak habitats is critically dependent on this trees existence. The White Oak in particular once had this dominant role in our ecosystems. It is difficult to fully appreciate the significance of this species loss.
Nevertheless, in the recent past both government agencies and nongovernmental organizations and group have responded to the situation . SURCP is one of them. Over the course of the last two decades SURCP has advocated for the conservation, revitalization and development of oak habitat in our region. We have supported projects developed by State and Federal agencies in the Umpqua basin area. We are currently sitting members of the Umpqua Oak Partnership, a coalition of private citizens public organizations and agencies.
The Drew Veg Project
SURCP embarked on a large scale whole watershed restoration project in the Elk Creek South Umpqua basin. One of the main objectives of this project was the recovery of oak meadow habitats. At one time large oak meadows existed throughout the watershed. The aboriginal people maintained these meadows using fire ecology as a management tool.
By 1954 the fire suppression rules of government had already been in place long enough to cause a serious decline in oak habitat. Assessments taken place before the project reveal dead oak trees over-topped by conifers that whose trunks were 3 to 5 feet in diameter.
A Selection of On The Ground Images of the Treatment Area. Click an Image
Private Land Oak Habitat Restoration Project
Rejuvenating current oak habitats is critically important. Below is a gallery of images from a project on an 80 acres piece of private land. This was part of a two phase ecological forestry training workshop. Phase one included Phoenix School students and SURCP. Phase two included the Lomakatsi Restoration Project and SURCP.
Urban or Suburban Oakscape Guide
Oak habitat can be nurtured on urban and suburban lots also by installing various types of oak habitats. You don’t need hundreds of acres to help the benefits of oak trees to be reestablished. A free to download 50 page PDF pamphlet to help anyone create or establish an Oakscape is available here.
Have more land and want the benefits of oak habitat? Here’s a pamphlet that will help you get started: https://surcp.org/oak/white_oak_guide.pdf