Fire History of Coastal California
Wildcat Lake, located on an ancient landslide, is along the coast north of San Francisco
Struggling to get the Livingstone corer down in Coast Trail Pond at Point Reyes National Seashore (PORE)
Locating the raft in the center of Shutter Ridge Pond near PORE headquarters
Much of R. Scott Anderson's research, and that of his
graduate students, concerns projects in California. Here, as elsewhere, they
are interested in the relationship between climate change, vegetation history
and ecosystem disturbance.
In southern California, they are studying sites within the
Transverse and Peninsular Ranges. In the mid-coastal regions, they have
projects north and south of San Francisco in Point Reyes National Seashore, and
at Laguna de las Trancas north of Santa Cruz.
Point Reyes National Seashore (PORE) is a spectacular place,
located immediately north of San Francisco. The research team visited PORE in
May of 2002 to core several small wetlands for their fire and vegetation study.
Although managed by the National Park Service, it's usage varies from
wilderness areas to working dairy farms. The work here seeks to determine the
different fire histories determined from sites in coastal sage scrub, upland
mixed conifer & hardwood forests, and from open grassland.
Wildcat Lake is one of a small number of landslide lakes along
the coast north of San Francisco. Sediments from this lake were originally
studied by Emily Russell (1983, Madroño 30, 1-11). Dr. Anderson and his
research team took a core in the deepest portion of the lake in 1998 as part of
a study of the history of fire in the National Seashore.
Coast Trail Pond is located in coastal sage scrub. The pond
is really a wetland, which dries out during the long Mediterranean-climate
summer. The site was originally studied by Rypins et al (1989, Quaternary
Research 32, 72-87). Dr. Anderson's work in this site was to determine a
high-resolution fire history of the vegetation type.
Shutter Ridge Pond is located in the oak grassland, near the
Park headquarters. This site is located on a ridge of sediment that has been
"pushed up" between two major faults of the San Andreas fault system.
The depression the forms the pond probably dries up during the summer dry