Native oak woodlands and forests are critically important to our groundwater levels and surface runoff, and never more so than now in this time of changing climate. Being the most biodiverse ecosystem in California, oak woodlands provide abundant habitat for native plants and animals, including hollows in trees and snags from fire. The greater the biodiversity of an ecosystem, the greater its chances of surviving the increasingly frequent challenges of drought, flooding, and warming temperatures.
Forest experts say our native oak woodlands and forests are made for fire and often will recover. Fire thins and cleans the forest floor, reducing disease and making minerals available. Although trees’ bark may be blackened and their leaves burned, many will sprout new leaves over this winter and spring.
However, PG&E has started cutting damaged trees without fully evaluating their potential for recovery. Of course, hazardous trees along roads or near structures need to be removed, but many of these trees are only scorched and will remain strong and healthy. Napa County Resource Conservation District has guidelines to help your land recover. Visit their site here. Trees slated to be removed by PG&E are marked with green. (The County has marked trees with red that they plan to cut.) Contact your county supervisor to insist scientific guidelines are followed by the county and by PG&E. Protect our forests and oak woodlands. Protect our water supply.