Oak Woodland Invertebrates: The Little Things Count
This new publication from the UC Berkeley Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program is an excellent introductory guide to a widely unnoticed universe—the minute animals called invertebrates that live in the oak woodland ecosystem in California. This fascinating world is home to a vast number of tiny creatures that provide an essential link in the health of our native California oaks. The myriad of invertebrates convert the sunlight, carbon dioxide, and mineral nutrients absorbed by oak trees into food for many birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
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|ABOVE: Acorns infested by acorn weevils typically fall earlier than intact acorns, perhaps leading Native Americans to burn under oaks to control these pests. Properly timed burning would kill insects in the current crop of acorns and thereby reduce pest populations in the following year.
A single acre of oak woodland may be home to 10 to 100 million types of insects and other invertebrates. Among the species highlighted in this publication are the oak gall wasps, acorn weevils, tarantula and tarantula hawk, and soil invertebrates. Also explored are the often intricate and fascinating symbiotic relationships between oak trees and invertebrates (e.g., gall wasps actually put the oaks to work for them by manipulating oak biochemistry) and human impacts on the delicate balance that has evolved over 15 million years.
This publication is an excellent learning tool for anyone who cares about our California oaks and wants to know more about this important ecosystem.
Oak Woodland Invertebrates: The Little Things Count (ANR Publication 21598) is priced at $5 a copy, plus tax and shipping; with discounts available for purchases of 10 or more copies. It is available from ANR Communication Services (6701 San Pablo Avenue, 2nd Floor, Oakland, CA 94608-1239), by phone (800-994-8849), FAX (510-643-5470), and online at http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu.
prepared and edited by Adina Merenlender and Emily Heaton