Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: Sierra Nevada

UC wildlife research team looking for single socks

A Pacific fisher, captured by researchers with a motion-detecting camera, grabs at "chicken in a sock."
A University of California wildlife research team working in the Sierra Nevada near Oakhurst, Calif., is asking the public to donate clean, gently used socks for research on a rare weasel called the Pacific fisher. The team is part of the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP), which is examining the effects of forest thinning, as currently done by the U.S. Forest Service, on the health of local wildlife, the forest and water resources. The U.S. Forest Service implements these treatments out of concern for excessive fire risk. Eighty years of fire suppression, reductions in logging and drought conditions have left the forest increasingly overcrowded and excessively flammable.

But what kind of research could go through hundreds of socks a month? After years of experimentation, the research team has determined that socks are the ideal receptacle for hanging fisher bait in trees. The researchers are going through 250 pair a month, at a considerable cost, to create the “chicken in a sock” bait stations.

Besides the cost, chief scientist Dr. Rick Sweitzer is spending too much time in the Wal-Mart checkout line with a cart full of socks.

The scientists don’t need new socks; they would prefer old, unmatched, non-holey ones, something every American has cluttering up their sock drawers. You know the ones!

So, in an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, the SNAMP wildlife research team is putting out a call for lost and lonely socks. Socks may be delivered or mailed to 40799 Elliott Dr., Oakhurst CA 93644. For more information contact Anne Lombardo at amlombardo@ucdavis.edu. To read more about the research project visit the SNAMP website.

Other wildlife are also attracted to the bait stations:

A bobcat trying to get the chicken in a sock.

A fox at the sock bait station.


Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 7:20 AM
  • Author: Anne Lombardo

Study to examine giant sequoia groves

The giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada are the biggest and among the oldest trees on the planet. Some are 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Forestry scientists from the University of California and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo,  want to learn more about how disturbance factors affect the health of these aging behemoths.

Growth-response studies to date show that tree vigor can increase following moderate intensity disturbances such as prescribed fire or mechanical fire-hazard reduction treatments. Less certain, however, is how giant sequoias respond to lower and higher intensity disturbances. This information is of critical importance to identify the tradeoffs involved in fire prevention treatments or evaluating management options.

This summer scientists will visit native groves within Giant Sequoia National Monument, where high-intensity disturbances occurred 20 years ago. Harvests conducted at that time removed all trees except for large giant sequoia, creating a forest structure similar to what you’d expect after a high-intensity wildfire. Following the harvests, there was considerable public concern over the fate of the giant sequoias remaining. Mortality and growth in these areas has not been assessed until now.

The primary investigator on the project is Robert York, station manager of the UC Center for Forestry and an adjunct professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. York is an expert in giant sequoia ecology.  His co-investigator on the project is Scott Sink, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He has investigated differences between old growth and secondary forests and developed expertise in measurements of tree ring growth. The researchers will partner with forest ecologist Steve Hanna of Giant Sequoia National Monument in Porterville.

The scientists will also study tree ring widths taken from 33 giant sequoias at the UC-Whitaker Forest, where light burns and small tree removal occurred in 1967. York previously conducted field work on growth response in a giant sequoia forest subjected to a moderate-intensity disturbance. In addition to publishing a journal article on this work, researchers will hold a field trip for managers of giant sequoia groves, involve UC and CSU students in field and laboratory work, and develop a lab module for coursework at UC Berkeley.

The project is funded by a $10,000 grant intended to foster collaboration in higher education in California on issues affecting agriculture, natural resources or human sciences. In their grant proposal, the researchers said: “We have a unique opportunity to measure growth response in giant sequoia to these different levels of disturbance intensity, and therefore improve our understanding of this species’ complex life-history strategy, while informing management within giant sequoia groves.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 8:30 AM
Tags: forest (12), giant sequoia (1), Sierra Nevada (8), wildfire (36)

Scientists track the California spotted owl

What effect do changes made to the forest - for wildfire management or timber harvest, for example - have on California spotted owl? That question prompted the organizers of the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP) to incorporate an owl team into its wide-ranging effort.

The owl team recently gathered at the UC Blodgett Forest near Georgetown with members of the public and representatives of agencies involved in SNAMP. They explained the scope of the on-going spotted owl research program and the smaller subsection that is part of the SNAMP project.

Project manager Doug Tempel and assistant project leader Sheila Whitmore, both affiliated with the University of Minnesota, said the owls are humanely trapped using a snare pole, a blood sample taken for genetic testing and colored bands attached to the legs for easy identification of the owls in the wild.

Because each owl has a different color band and tab combination, they need never be captured again.

Tempel said one owl pair lives in an area called the "Last Chance." That area will be subjected to Forest Service treatments, then observations by the owl scientists will indicate the impact of the treatments on those owls' lives.

Kim Ingram of UC Cooperative Extension is the SNAMP representative for the northern Sierra Nevada.

She said information from the spotted owl study will be integrated with data collected by other teams to better understand how forests can be managed to ensure sustainable timber resources, minimize wildfire risk to people and structures and conserve wildlife habitat.

Besides the spotted owl team, other teams that are part of SNAMP are:

Attached Files
Spotted Owl
Posted on Friday, July 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM

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