New partnership to help conserve Oregon white oak trees

Nov 06, 2017
White oak woodlands, forests, and savannas are home to a wide range of bird and wildlife species. The new partnership will help conserve this habitat type.

The Land Trust has joined a new partnership aimed at protecting threatened habitat for Oregon white oak trees. The East Cascades Oaks Partnership is a new consortium focused on conserving and restoring highly threatened Oregon white oak woodlands east of the Cascade range.

White oak woodlands grow in the transition zone that exists east of the Cascades between ponderosa pine forests and sagebrush steppe. They grow as far north as Yakima and as far south as Madras. White oak woodlands, forests, and savannas are home to a wide range of bird and wildlife species. However, climate change, development pressure, lack of research, and mismanagement pose significant threats to white oak survival. In fact, the white oak has lost roughly 90% of its historical range since the 19th century.

The Land Trust worked with several regional partners to establish the East Cascades Oak Partnership. The goal: address challenges to white oaks by providing a collaborative space for scientists, government agencies, conservation groups, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Yakama Nation to improve science, management, and outreach efforts. As the only land trust in Central Oregon, the Deschutes Land Trust has a key role to play in conserving white oak habitats.

The East Cascades Oaks Partnership has met several times since its conception, including most recently in Hood River on November 1. The nascent group is still establishing its goals and strategies, but funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Land Trust Conservation Bird Initiative (a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) will allow the Partnership and its members to implement white oak conservation and restoration approaches in the near future.  

Stay tuned for more on this exciting work!

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