Giant Sequoia Inventory Scheduled

Volunteers needed to help with inventory

The Sequoia National Forest is beginning the inventory of the giant sequoia groves located on the Giant Sequoia National Monument.  This inventory will complete an existing inventory that began in 1998 but was never finalized.  The information from this inventory will update the information we have collected over the years regarding overall the number and type of trees in giant sequoia groves, the size of these trees, the fuel-buildup of small and dead trees in giant sequoia groves, and the makeup of vegetation for wildlife habitat in these groves.

It has taken many years for the forest to be able to obtain funding to complete this inventory, originally identified as a desired goal in the 1990 Mediated Settlement Agreement that provided interim direction for the Sequoia National Forest under the 1988 Sequoia National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.  The Forest inventoried approximately half (50%) of the giant sequoia groves from 1998 to 2004 before stopping the inventory project.  Funding to complete the inventory was not obtained until this year.  Completing the giant sequoia inventory will provide information that will be utilized as we develop the Giant Sequoia Environmental Impact Statement and subsequent management plan.  It is important the Forest accomplish the giant sequoia grove inventory for the Giant Sequoia National Monument Plan this year.

The 2000 Presidential Proclamation for the establishment of the Giant Sequoia National Monument acknowledged the occurrence of many diverse objects of interest and listed special concerns deemed critical for management within the monument.  The concerns focused on the lack of sequoia regeneration and the buildup of surface fuels – both of which could threaten the longevity of giant sequoia ecosystems.  

There are 33 giant sequoia groves on the Giant Sequoia National Monument totaling approximately 20,000 acres.  Half the acres (13,711) of groves within the monument have had a vegetation and fuels inventory (conducted from 1998 to 2004).  The groves with a current inventory include:  Mountain Home, Deer Creek, Packsaddle, Long Meadow, Red Hill, Peyrone, Black Mountain, Alder Creek, Starvation, Powderhorn, Big Stump, Cherry Gap, Converse Basin, Grant, Indian Basin, Landslide, and Redwood Mountain.  This inventory followed the Region 5 (California) Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) format and collected information on all trees by size, numbers, and distribution using systematic cluster plot sampling.  Regeneration plots were taken simultaneously with large tree plots at the same spacing.  These plots avoided open and disturbed areas where larger trees were not expected.  This meant sampling was often inadequate to fully assess the distribution and quantity of smaller giant sequoia regeneration.  Photo series were used to estimate fuels conditions.  This data is currently not in the National Resource Information
 Interested Public System (NRIS) Field Sampled Vegetation (FSVeg) format (a database and modeling system used in California) and will need to be entered remotely and by hand by the forest in order for processing to occur using the current information system programs.  

An additional 14,204 acres of groves have no current useable inventory since the original inventory was stopped in 2004.  This means the Sequoia National Forest has no complete and accurate estimate of the amount of sequoia regeneration, fuels buildup, and identification of large trees in half the groves in the monument.  

Over the past year, there has been a strong and urgent need from both external and internal interests to learn, at a minimum, how much surface and ladder fuels exist in giant sequoia groves, how much giant sequoia regeneration is occurring, or how many large giant sequoias exist within the groves.  The forest and the public have seen a need to finish the original inventory.

Other information that could be collected in a field examination will also help satisfy the need for information about ecosystem processes and other objects of interest.  This information will be used to support the planning process and better manage the monument.

Read more of the Giant Sequoia Inventory Scheduled and how you can participate on MUIRNet-News.

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