The 1912 Douglas-Fir Heredity Study is one of the first studies undertaken by the US Forest Service, and one of the first forest genetics studies in North America. The study considers provenance variation of 120 parent trees from 13 seed sources planted at five test sites in the Pacific Northwest. The unique, long-term nature of the study makes it valuable to revisit and consider its biological and historical significance. This analysis considers how far climatically Douglas-fir populations may be moved without incurring unacceptable declines in growth and survival. Results indicate that Douglas-fir seed sources may be moved at least 2° C cooler or warmer and still retain good long-term survival and productivity. However, projected future climate change beyond 2° C may lead to lower survival and roductivity. One option to address these concerns is assisted migration; however, if seed sources are moved beyond 2–3° C to a cooler climate in anticipation of warming, or from a more continental to a maritime climate, we are likely to see increased mortality and associated losses in productivity in the near-term. Lessons from this study include: (1) pay attention to good experimental design; we were able to overcome limitations from the design by using new statistical approaches; (2) maladaptation may take time to develop; poorer survival was not evident until more than two decades after planting; and (3) long-term studies may have value for addressing new, unforeseen issues in the future.
Forest genetics research in the Pacific Northwest began in the early 20th century with the establishment of the Douglas-Fir Heredity Study and the Wind River Arboretum. These early studies led to preference for native species for refoestation, and the delineation of seed collection guidelines and seed zones in the 1940s. The 1950s saw an increased interest in forest genetics and tree improvement as increased harvests led to an interest in production forestry and potential gains from applied genetics. Later decades saw the growth of tree improvement programs and the formation of cooperatives, including increased interest in seed orchard research. A major milestone was the development of graft compatible Douglas-fir rooting stock by Don Copes at the Pacific Northwest Research Station. Other forest genetics research focused on population genetics and geographic variation in adaptive traits. We are now entering a new age, the age of genomics. Complete genome sequences are now available for many important forest trees, new markers are available, and we can now directly study the expression of genets that confer adaptation to climate, disease resistance, and increased growth. The past 100 years has seen enormous progress in our understanding of forest genetics and our ability to breed trees. The future will bring even greater challenges including climate change, the introduction of new pests, and greater demands for natural resources.
We examine the influence of wildfire institutions on management and forest resilience over time, drawing on research from a multiownership, frequent-fire, coupled human and natural system (CHANS) in the eastern Cascades of Oregon, USA. We constructed social-ecological histories of the study area’s three main landowner groups (national forest, private corporate, and tribal) using a historical framework (1905–2010). Our findings highlight two infrequently recognized linkages of multiownership, frequentfire CHANS: (1) informal institutions (e.g., cultural norms, knowledge system and fire paradigm) and institutional history often influence wildfire management adaptation (changes in forest fuel treatment, harvest fuel treatment, and wildfire incident response) through interactions with formal institutions (e.g., policy, law) and consequent effects on managers’ decision-making flexibility; (2) institutional interactions over time can influence forest resilience, thereby contributing to forest structural variation in multiownership landscapes. Consequently, the factors that contribute to maladaptive wildfire management are heterogeneously distributed across ownerships and the landscape. The timing of institutional dynamics also matters: manager flexibility to respond adaptively to wildfire hazard change seems to depend on synchronicity in evolution between informal and formal institutions, whereas asynchronous evolution (e.g., policy change, coupled with delayed shift in cultural norms or fire paradigms) may generate a time lag between unanticipated ecological feedbacks and management response. Thus, interventions that promote informal institutional evolution in tandem with developments in policy and law may shorten time lags, accelerating adaptation. A historical perspective can facilitate broad-scale, adaptive responses to wildfire-related ecological feedbacks in several ways: by providing insight into how informal institutions and institutional history interact with formal institutions to influence wildfire management behavior; by providing a historical baseline and system stages that contextualize current management behavior, ecological conditions, and policy options; and by illuminating historical sources of variation among ownerships and how they might be addressed.
In about 1925 or 1926, Margaret Baty, a tribal member of Big Sandy Rancheria, displayed a collection of acorns from California black oak (Quercus kelloggii, wi-yap' in Mono) and an acorn cooking basket. This photograph, taken by George Holt and courtesy of the Flegal Collection of the Jesse Peter Museum at Santa Rosa Junior College, was reportedly taken at the home of Mike and Annie Anderson near Auberry, California. Western Mono (Nium in the local North Fork dialect) families have long gathered large quantities of acorns as a staple, storable food that was also used as a currency. To sustain this vital resource, they have tended large black oak trees in woodland and forest areas, using fire to control pests and fuels, and using knocking poles to collect the acorns and remove broken branches. The large coil basket has a step or tabletop design. Materials used to make the basket include rhizomes of bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum, nim-oi-nu in Mono) for the black elements, rhizomes of Santa Barbara sedge (Carex barbarae, te-de-nap' in Mono) for the white elements, stalks of deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens, monop in Mono) for the foundation, and a stick of sourberry (Rhus aromatica, ta-ka-te in Mono) for the top. In recent decades, widespread encroachment of conifer trees, lack of fire, and pests have limited the availability of sound acorns, as well as those associated plants desired for food and fiber. Nevertheless, tribal members continue to gather acorns and are partnering with the Sierra National Forest at various sites to promote more productive oak groves and meadows through active tending, conifer removal, and applications of fire.
In Strangers on Familiar Soil, Edward Dallam Melillo shows how Californians and Chileans each have one foot on their land and the other connecting them through the Pacific Ocean. Melillo reframes our understanding of US history in the west and links the histories and destinies of Chile and California from 1786 to the current day. Contrary to popular belief, Melillo asserts that California was built by more than westward migration during expansionism in the US. It was also built by influences from Chileans or Chilenos whose country was the last stop after coming around the horn of South America before sailing north to California. At least 56% of all ships from Europe or the eastern US stopped at a Chilean port. Such data suggest that zones of historical migration and arenas of intercultural contact are not always borderlands. They are…”where land and water converge.” Anyone from these places or who has an interest in Chile or California may want to read this book to gain new insights into their origins. This book would also be an excellent choice for graduate and undergraduate students or history buffs looking for a quick read.