Published February 9, 2023
As part of the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network’s Upper Rogue Oak Initiative, Lomakatsi Restoration Project and The Understory Initiative are partnering to collect data on oak ecosystems before and after restoration activities. Most oak ecosystems in the Upper Rogue Basin are overly dense due to fire exclusion. In particular, conifers such as Douglas-fir and incense cedar, as well as some species of shrubs, have expanded into or increased density in oak stands. This threatens oak trees and oak habitats through direct competition for resources, impacts cultural resources important to tribal communities, and also increases the risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfire to this ecological system that is primarily adapted to low-severity, mild fire. Higher severity fire has a propensity to convert stands of large oak trees and their distinct habitat values to brushy oak-shrub chaparral, which is also valuable habitat, but is more readily maintained, less at risk for loss.