A resilience-based approach to the conservation of valley oak in a Southern California landscape

James J. Hayes, Shanon Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Conservation thinking will benefit from the incorporation of a resilience perspective of landscapes as social-ecological systems that are continually changing due to both internal dynamics and in response to external factors such as a changing climate. The examination of two valley oak stands in Southern California provides an example of the necessity of this systems perspective where each stand is responding differently as a result of interactions with other parts of the landscape. One stand is experiencing regeneration failure similar to other stands across the state, and is exhibiting shifts in spatial pattern as a response to changing conditions. A nearby stand is regenerating well and maintaining spatial and structural patterns, likely due to the availability of imported water associated with upstream urban development. Valley oak stands have a capacity for reorganization as a response to changes in the landscape and environmental conditions. This reorganization can benefit conservation efforts; however, we must ask what limits there are to valley oak's capacity to reorganize and still maintain its ecological function in face of increasing changes in climate and land cover. The usefulness of resilience as a concept in conservation is discussed at several scales from the stand to the landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-849
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014


  • California
  • Conservation
  • Imported water
  • Landscape
  • Resilience
  • Valley oak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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