Santa Barbara County Oak Restoration

We are conducting a long-term oak regeneration program to improve our understanding of the role of cattle and other ecological factors in limiting or promoting recruitment by valley oak (Quercus lobata), blue oak (Q. douglasii), and coast live oak (Q. agrifolia). We will translate our findings into both management recommendations and prescriptions for restoring oak woodlands and savannas. More than 75% of oak woodland and savanna ecosystems in California is grazed by cattle, making cattle the most pervasive anthropogenic influence on these ecosystems and on their oak populations. For this reason, a careful examination of the effects of cattle grazing must be a central theme of a comprehensive investigation of oak regeneration and restoration. The specific goals of this research are to:
-conduct large-scale grazing and related experiments that will determine the factors affecting the establishment of valley, live and blue oaks in ecosystems represented on Sedgwick Ranch
-develop a prescription for actively promoting oak regeneration in such ecosystems
- disseminate our findings in the form of presentations, onsite demonstration projects, and literature that is directed towards local landowners and resource managers interested in the management and restoration of oak woodlands.
All research is being conducted on the Sedgwick Reserve, a 5860 acre (2372 ha) ranch located at the base of Figueroa Mountain. Under a a cooperative grazing agreement with the College of Agriculture at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, students and faculty from Cal Poly maintain and care for the cattle herd at Sedgwick, and assist with the application of grazing treatments in our experiments.
Download the Executive Summary of our Final Report to Santa Barbara County (October 2005) pdf format
Download the entire Final Report to Santa Barbara County (October 2005) pdf format (3.3 Mb)
For more info on the ecology of oaks:


Claudia Tyler, UCSB Earth Research Institute; ; Bruce Mahall, UCSB Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology; Frank W. Davis, UCSB Bren School

Funding Agency: 

Santa Barbara County

Project Period: 

June, 1994

Research Area: