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Plant diversity and invasives in blue oak savannas of the southern Sierra NevadaAuthor(s): Jon E. Keeley
Source: In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California's Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 693-704
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (560 KB)
DescriptionBlue oak savannas were found to be substantially more diverse at all scales from localized point diversity to the community scale, than higher elevation shrubland and coniferous forests in the southern Sierra Nevada. Also, alien plants were more diverse and represented a substantial fraction of the understory flora in these blue oak savannas, comprising three-fourths of the species at the smallest scale (1-m2) and about half at the largest scale (1,000-m2). Either alien invasion has greatly increased species diversity in these savannas or it has displaced native annuals as opposed to native bunchgrasses as is commonly proposed. Livestock grazing is thought to have played a decisive role in the initial invasion of the blue oak savanna understory. Today there are differences evident between livestock grazed and ungrazed sites and between horse and cattle grazed sites. Grazed sites have slightly higher species richness and higher alien species richness and cover than ungrazed sites. The differences, however, are rather subtle and despite over a century of protection from livestock grazing, ungrazed sites are remarkably similar to sites with a continuing history of grazing.
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CitationKeeley, Jon E. 2002. Plant diversity and invasives in blue oak savannas of the southern Sierra Nevada. In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California''s Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 693-704
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