Tree Communities in the Montini Preserve

Tree Communities in the Montini Report with cover_Page_01Recently we were gifted with a scientific report, “Tree Communities in the Montini Open Space Preserve,” by Greg Perrier, a retired biology professor. In this report, he thoroughly reports on the variety of tree communities on the Perserve, thus greatly expanding our knowledge of this important local ecosystem.

As Professor Perrier writes:

There is little in the literature about the geology, soils, tree communities and grasslands at Montini. For example, the USDA soils map (USDA,1972) shows the hills above the valley plain in Montini as one soil type (the goulding-toomes series), when at least five soils types can be identified there. Vegetation maps for this area (SCAPOSD, 2011) combine oak communities into one type (hardwoods), when at least three oak communities can be identified in Montini. A review of the literature shows the dynamics of these communities is complex and poorly understood. The low resolution of existing data limits the ability to effectively manage this landscape to sustain these plant communities and the values derived from them. 

The purpose of this study is twofold. First, to fill in some of the gaps in our understanding of the ecology of Montini to allow for better management of the preserve. And second, to provide baseline data for monitoring changes in the vegetation at Montini over time. 

In his report, he identifies three distinct tree communities:

The tree communities are the blue oak – California buckeye woodland, the blue oak – California bay laurel woodland, and the coast live oak – California bay laurel forest. 

His accompanying data provides a key snapshot of this ecosystem that future researchers can build upon as essential “benchmark” data. Thank you, Professor Perrier!

A Great Way to Celebrate National Arbor Day

mistletoeTo celebrate National Arbor Day, volunteer Steward Rich Gibson, a retired biologist, will lead a 3-mile hike of moderate difficulty on the Sonoma Overlook Trail while telling hikers about the trees and shrubs along the trail. This is not to be missed, as you will emerge from the experience with a much greater appreciation of the trees and shrubs you see not just beside the trail, but everywhere in Sonoma Valley.

There are two times to choose from:

  • Friday, April 29th at 5:30 pm
  • Saturday, April 30th at 9:00 am

For either day meet at the main Overlook Trail trailhead next to entrance of Mountain Cemetery. Be sure to bring water, sturdy shoes, and sun protection.

For more information leave a message for Rich at 707-939-0280.