August 4, 1998 |
CONTACT: Jeannette Warnert, (559) 646-6074, email@example.com |
UC brochure Offers Tips on Conserving Oak Woodlands Around Vineyards
BERKELEY -- As California wines grow increasingly popular, more land in the state is being targeted for vineyard development. Many of these vineyards are located in oak woodlands, which has resulted in the cutting and removal of large stands of trees. Concern over this loss of oaks to vineyards, especially in the state’s coastal counties, has motivated environmentalists, urban residents and grape growers to work toward local solutions that will benefit both agriculture and the environment.
The University of California’s Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program (IHRMP) has published a new educational brochure that addresses this important topic. Vineyards in an Oak Landscape: Exploring the Physical, Biological and Social Benefits of Maintaining and Restoring Native Vegetation in and around the Vineyard is a full-color, 15-page brochure intended for grape growers and those generally interested in agriculture and natural resource issues in California. It describes the unique values of the state’s oak woodlands; the threats they face from fragmentation and conversion; and how landowners can care for them.
Oak woodlands, also called hardwood rangelands, have a tree cover of oak species and an understory of annual grasses and forbs (herbs other than grasses), with occasional native perennial grasses. They are found on about 10 percent of the state’s land and are home to more than 300 vertebrate wildlife species, making them California’s most biologically diverse habitats.
The brochure covers the following topics:
“Grape growers are increasingly looking to California’s oak woodlands as sites for new vineyards, so it is important that we provide them with as much information as possible on the impact of oak removal and conservation,” says Julia Crawford, a graduate student researcher with the IHRMP and coauthor of the brochure.
“Environmentalists and the press are calling us asking for information on the conversion of oak woodlands to vineyards, especially in coastal communities,” adds coauthor Adina Merenlender, IHRMP Natural Resource Specialist. “For example, in Santa Barbara County close to 2,000 oaks were removed in the last two years by landowners putting in new vineyards. Hopefully, this brochure will help people to understand and address this controversial issue.”
The brochure is intended to serve as a practical reference for landowners, with a “vineyard development checklist,” a listing of helpful organizations in the state, a bibliography and a personal account from a grape grower in Napa County. The publication will also interest county planners, conservationists and other landowners.
Vineyards in an Oak Landscape (DANR Publication 21577) is available for $4.50 (plus 8.25% California sales tax) per copy, for up to nine copies. There is a 20% discount for 10 to 49 copies and a 25% discount for 50 to 99 copies. Shipping and handling are included. To order the brochure, call 1-800-994-8849 or mail a request to the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communications Services, 6701 San Pablo Ave., 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94608-1239.
Other IHRMP efforts
Vineyards in an Oak Landscape is the most recent of the many publications and educational outreach efforts of the IHRMP, a statewide program based on the UC Berkeley campus. The program recently published its 1997-98 progress report detailing efforts to conserve the state’s oak woodlands. It is the seventh such report and the first to be posted on the Internet (at http://danr.ucop.edu/ihrmp/prog98.html).
IHRMP accomplishments in 1997-98 include:
Presenting 10 workshops in conjunction with Cooperative Extension (UCCE) offices across the state to educate ranchers, homeowners, conservation groups and resource management professionals on oak woodlands management;
Helping to implement oak woodlands policies adopted by the state Board of Forestry in Sonoma, Fresno and El Dorado counties through a more local-based approach (these are in addition to the 27 counties with existing conservation programs);
Establishing an appraisal model for measuring the economic value of oak woodlands in the state; and
Monitoring change in oak woodlands in seven counties in the southern Sierra Nevada (Kern to Calaveras) with local UCCE advisors. Urbanization was the major source of change in Fresno County, wildfires had the greatest impact in Tuolomne and Calaveras counties and fire-management practices had the largest impact in Madera and Mariposa counties.
"The IHRMP has focused its efforts on developing new ecological and management information on hardwood rangeland ecosystems,” says Richard Standiford, IHRMP manager and Forest Management Specialist for Central California. “Seeing this science-based material incorporated into management plans by landowners and in regional conservation policies has helped ensure that these ecologically rich habitats are sustained for future generations of Californians.”
The IHRMP was created in 1986 to maintain and, where possible, increase acreage of California’s oak woodlands to provide wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, wood and livestock products and a high-quality water supply. It was recently chosen by the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals as one of three model extension programs in the nation addressing natural resource issues through multidisciplinary efforts.