University of California, Santa Cruz
The University of California Santa Cruz Forest Ecology Research Site (UCSC-FERP) is a combined research and teaching resource in the living laboratory of the UC Santa Cruz Campus Natural Reserve. Just 7 km from the Pacific coast, the vegetation is shaped by the dry Mediterranean climate and seasonal coastal fog. The plot is divided between mixed evergreen coastal forest and redwood-dominated forest, including nearly 29,000 woody individuals from 34 species and 18 families. The four dominant tree species are Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), Shreve's Oak (Quercus parvula var. shrevei), Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), and Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens); Fagaceae and Pinaceae together comprise three-fourths of all stems. Additional studies at the site investigate soil nutrients, texture, and moisture, as well as understory light conditions. There is also ongoing monitoring of phenology, micrometeorology, small terrestrial mammals, and fungi. Up to 100 undergraduate students per year gain experience in forest ecology research, collecting data for censuses, long-term monitoring, and engaging in independent research.
The UCSC-FERP plot began as a 6-ha site in 2007 and expanded to 16-ha in 2013.