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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Research connects soil hydrology and stream water chemistry in California oak woodlands


The UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (SFREC) is located in the heart of typical California blue oak and live oak woodlands within metavolcanic terrain of the Sierra Nevada foothills. These types of woodlands often exist at the interface between urban, wild and agricultural lands and are used extensively for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat and surface water supply. Soil surveys for this region and within SFREC depict relatively few soil types compared to areas that support more-intensive agricultural land uses. Despite this inferred homogeneity, our study showed that the biogeochemical and physical properties of soils vary sharply over short distances of less than 10 feet and also experience changes by season and as a result of storm events. An understanding of soil variability in this setting is important to assess rangeland productivity, perennial grass and oak restoration potential, carbon sequestration, stream flow generation and stream water chemistry.

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