Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley
University of California
Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley

Whitaker's Forest

Located on Redwood Mountain, Whitaker’s Forest is adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park. It lies on gentle to steep slopes in the giant sequoia/mixed conifer forest. Over 215 large giant sequoia trees occur on the property, along with fine stands of second-growth redwood. Mixed conifer forests of both mature and second-growth trees predominate on the west side of the forest and are interspersed with giant sequoia elsewhere.The soils are of granitic origin with the Shaver soil series supporting the mesic giant sequoia and mixed conifer types, while the xeric areas of ponderosa pine and brushland are underlaid by soils of the Holland series. Numerous granitic outcrops can be found on the property.Climatic data was taken on Whitaker’s Forest from 1966 until 1980. Average annual precipitation is about 1092 mm (43″) of rain and about 410 mm (16″) falling in the form of snow. Year-to-year fluctuation can be great, with variations in precipitation from 381 mm (15″)/yr to 1524 mm (60″)/yr recorded. Snowfalls have exceeded six feet in a single storm. Temperatures are moderate, with summer highs in the 80′s F and lows in the 50′s, while winter temperatures are often in the 20′s, never rising above freezing for weeks at a time.

Whitaker's Forest Research Station Dominant Usage

Whitaker’s Forest has the oldest permanent plots (established 1915) in California. Studies on vegetation, breeding birds, and resident mammals indicate the rich natural history of the area. Currently, a study of the effects of acid deposition occupies much of the site. A decade of experiments in controlled burning altered the successional patterns on much of the forest. Plans are still being formulated for overall management of the forest..

Research or other usage of this site should recognize the dominance of the giant sequoia. Whitaker’s Forest has the most advanced stands of second-growth sequoia existing in the Sierras.

Whitaker’s has two areas fit for habitation/usage. The primary headquarters area has one large, three bedroom house, three one-room cabins, a bathhouse, and a team. The other area, formerly used by 4-H camps, has a bathhouse/lab and nine tent frames. Power and propane are available on the site and numerous campsites exist. Primitive roads provide access to some of the forest.

Restrictions currently prohibit the cutting of large giant sequoia trees and disallow any animal grazing. Manipulative research is allowed pending approval by the research subcommittee.

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