Blue oak woodland, blue oak foothill pine woodland; 10 to 24 percent canopy cover
Oak Cover/Forestry Assessment:
Oak volume ranges from 20 to 170 cubic feet per acre, and 10-year growth rate ranges from 2 to 40 cubic feet per acre. These are not good areas for commercial harvesting activities due to very low stocking and low growth rates. Many open blue oak savannahs lack oak regeneration, especially on low elevation and/or low rainfall zones. Managers should compare current levels of mortality to regeneration. In areas where mortality exceeds regeneration, it may be necessary to adopt management procedures to encourage regeneration.
These areas offer only limited opportunities for hunt clubs in their current condition because of low cover and acorn production. Medium populations of quail can be expected, which can be improved by providing additional water and cover with brush piles. It may be desirable to increase cover if feasible to improve habitat for deer and turkeys.
Wildlife Diversity Assessment:
These open blue oak savannah stands contain both grassland and woodland wildlife species. In general, the habitat is good for open grassland species such as
western meadowlark, but marginal for woodland species such as Pacific-slope flycatchers. Habitat elements, such as riparian zones, snags, trees with cavities, and large woody debris, have an important effect on biodiversity by making habitats more complex. More complex habitats support greater numbers of wildlife. According to the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships system (CWHR) there are 21 amphibian species, 33 reptile species, 73 mammal species, and 137 bird species which are predicted to occur in these habitats if various elements occur. If there are no riparian zones or sources of water, no snags or cavity trees, and no large woody debris or brush piles on the site, the number of vertebrate wildlife species predicted to occur in these habitats falls to 10 amphibian species, 31 reptiles, 39 mammals, and 101 bird species. This points to the importance of maintaining diversity in the habitat elements present in the stand to provide for the highest possible diversity of wildlife species.
Average forage production capability is 3,000 pounds per acre with a range from 1,500 to 4,500 pounds. In low rainfall areas, the presence of scattered trees has been found to increase overall range forage production. However, thistles and other undesirable plants may occur under the tree canopy, although this is not common. Potential for range improvement through seeding, fertilization, and grazing management may increase productivity where production is currently at the lower end of the scale and available soil and soil moisture is not limiting.