SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The 8th California Oak Symposium will be held Oct. 31–Nov. 3 in San Luis Obispo, and anyone involved in research, education, management or conservation of California’s oak woodlands is invited to participate.
The theme of the symposium is “Sustaining California Oak Woodlands Under Current and Future Conditions.” The four-day event’s 62 concurrent session talks and 30 posters will cover climate change, wildlife ecology, oak restoration, oak pests and diseases, fire ecology, and ranch management and generational transfer.
Oak scientists, foresters, tribal members, land managers, policymakers and other interested individuals will gather to discuss the state of knowledge about the science, policy and management of California’s oak woodlands.
“Given the risks associated with climate change, conservation of this diverse ecosystem is an especially critical management and policy priority today,” said symposium co-chair Bill Tietje, University of California Cooperative Extension natural resources specialist based in San Luis Obispo.
The symposium will kick off on Oct. 31 with three optional tours to observe Central Coast oak management and conservation. The Dangermond Preserve tour will provide a glimpse into the home of 54 special status species – including 14 threatened and endangered plant and animal species – in 6,000 acres of coast live oak woodlands at Point Conception. On the Sinton Family Avenales Ranch tour, Steve Sinton, co-founder of the California Rangeland Trust, will discuss the history and management of the ranch, which offers hunting and hosts UC Cooperative Extension long-term research projects. The Oak Conservation tour will visit the Cuesta Ridge oak diversity hotspot, Learning Among the Oaks outdoor education and youth environmental leadership training program, Santa Margarita Vineyard and oak restoration activities at Cayuse Ranch.
Keynote speaker David Ackerly, dean and professor of UC Berkeley Rausser College of Natural Resources, will open the second day with an overview of climate change and oaks. Other speakers will discuss the science of climate change, management of oak woodland under changing environmental conditions, and the maintenance of working landscapes and the essential services they provide to society.
On the third day, two special-topic panels will describe California oak programs for schools, citizen scientists and underrepresented groups. Panelists will also describe technologies used to increase understanding of the oak woodland ecosystem and how to apply the information.
The closing day will feature a plenary session on managing and maintaining working landscapes during prolonged drought. To wrap up the symposium, Paul Starrs, University of Nevada-Reno emeritus professor, will deliver the capstone talk, “Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?”
Beginning in 1979, seven symposia have been held every five to seven years to address the state of knowledge about the science, policy and management of California’s oak woodlands. The eighth in the series was originally set for 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic.
For more information, including the full program, and to register, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/oaksymposium.