Dr. Kim Thompson
Plants and People 1030
Fall Semester 2015
Dr. Kim Thompson
Plants and People 1030
Fall Semester 2015
The King Range National Conservation area has incredibly diverse flora and fauna, and one of me more common plants—although commonly overlooked—is western poison oak.
Western poison oak, known scientifically as Toxicodendron diversilobum, is seen along the western coast, and is commonly seen in thick shrubs or vines. It can be identified by a few characteristics; three leaves that are green in summer or red in autumn, greenish-white flowers with five petals and stamen, and pale green berries about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Poison oak uses the flowers to reproduce, but it can also reproduce asexually through its roots (Greene).
Poison oak produces a compound called urushiol that can have a very unpleasant reaction in about 80% of Americans. Skin contact with urushiol can cause blisters, severe itching, and in some cases even life threatening swelling of the facial area. Inhalation of urushiol can have even worse symptoms such as lung irritation (“Poison Oak Symptoms”).
Poison oak not only poses a threat to humans in the King Range Conservation, but to the other plant life as well. Shrubs can block out sunlight for other ground dwelling plants, and the climbing vines can reach the tops of trees and block their sunlight. Although this plant can have adverse effects on humans and other plants, animals rarely ever show any reaction to urushiol (DiTomaso).
DiTomaso, J. M. “Poison Oak.” Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7431.html>.
Greene, Edward Lee. “Western Poison Oak.” Wildflowers and Other Plants of Southern California. Ed. Michael L. Charters. Web. <http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/westernpoisonoak.html>.
“Poison Oak Symptoms.” LifeScript. Web.<http://www.lifescript.com/health/briefs/p/poison_oak_symptoms.aspx>.
By: Jasmyn Pearl
Since becoming a conservation area in 1970, King Range National Conservation Area has become an attraction of many to the state of California. Nicknamed “the lost coast” many bikers and hikers looking for a challenge visit the 68,000 acre wilderness to hike parts of the 80 mile trail. Being surrounded in beautiful isolation allows for frequent whale spotting and intimacy with aspects of nature that cannot be found in other parts of the country. This vast space has a lot to offer.
Basic research on travel to the King Range National Conservation Area shows that many visitors enjoy being away from highways and crowded parking lots. Some nights the Milky Way can be seen, providing some sort of comfort after hiking the rough trails. Cultural ecosystem services such as this are proven to have positive effects on one’s emotional and physical health. Days nor even hours are required here to reap health benefits like more energy and a stronger immune system (California ReLeaf 2014) (The Health Benefits of Parks 2015). King Range National Conservation Area provides cultural ecosystem services throughout the entire space, from the ridge top to the black sand beaches.
The trees that sit up on the ridges provide a regulating service that allow the sandy beaches to exist but sometimes allow for mud slides. In 1973 King Mountain Range averaged 60 inches of rain per year which caused extreme erosion. The act stating that this land would become a conservation focuses on allowing nature to take back over in places people had damaged the grounds to prevent further extreme erosion. (Morgan, Cannon, 2014). The allowance of vegetation to grow without human hindrances regulates the soil’s ability to move freely and prevents flooding of streams.
While many people visit King Range National Conservation Area for the cultural ecosystem service they may fail to realize the other ecosystem services that they are viewing first hand, even the regulating services that allow them to be there in the first place.
Become a CaliforniaReLeaf.org Member. (2014). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://californiareleaf.org/whytrees/
How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. (2014, June 25). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing
Morgan, A., & Cannon, D. (2004, January 9). King Range National Conservation Area Case Study. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=books_reports_studies
Recreation Opportunities. (2015, October 2). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/nlcs/King_Range_NCA/recreation.html
The Health Benefits of Parks. (2015). Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.tpl.org/health-benefits-parks
By: Hayley Shepard
Beargrass is one of the most important plants in the King Range Wilderness. Beargrass is most commonly used for basket weaving. In order to harvest any plant in the King Range Wilderness, one must have a permit. A permit for picking beargrass is $20. Not many people get these permits; there are only about ten to twelve issued per year. The people collecting the beargrass are mainly locals who are not doing it for money, but for cultural reasons. Beargrass is indigenous to the King Range Wilderness. 
In the past, beargrass was used by Native Americans. Nowadays, beargrass has trouble growing in the King Range Wilderness because of the poor conditions. It is hard for the plant to grow because of all the brushes and the harvesting of the plant. 
Native American beargrass collection unit wants to expand the beargrass habitat. As of right now, beargrass does not have enough room or good quality growing conditions. This unit would get the Native Americans involved in the upkeep of the beargrass habitats and have a positive impact on the growth. There will even be an area for beargrass to grow that will be used exclusively by Native Americans. The public will not have access to this area, even with a beargrass harvesting permit. Local Tribes will work to raise awareness for the beargrass in this area. Visitors of the King Range Wilderness will know more about the beargrass before picking it. This effort will hopefully make the visitors more conscience of how they are harvesting the plant. 
There is a vast array of wildlife in the Kings Range National Conservation Area, some species being much more abundant than others. Though there are many types of trees in the Kings Range National Conservation Range, the most abundant seems to be the douglas fir tree. They are spread all along the peaks of the mountains that are pread all across the Californian conservation area (“Kings Range National Conservation Area.” Beurau of Land Management, n.d.). There are many distinguishing characteristics of the douglas fir tree. The douglas fir is a medium to very large sized tree, ranging from twenty meters tall to almost 200 meters tall. This characteristic makes this tree the largest tree species to grow on the west coast of North America. (“History and Information on the Douglas Fir Tree.” Douglasfir.ca. Forester Blog. n.d.). Douglas firs have a variety of traits that make it stand out from other trees around it. The leaves on the tree are prickly and have a green color and changes with the seasons. On occasion, the tree also holds pinecones that have a brown color and fresh scent (“5 Interesting Facts about the Douglas Fir.” Forestry.answers.com. Answers Staff, n.d.). The douglas fir, also known by the scientific name of pseudotsuga menziesii, has many uses to us people. The bark of the tree is able to be made into a tea that can help with colds and stomach pains. Some ancient people used the pitch of the tree as a gum for making containers watertight. Also, others were using the roots of the douglas fir to weave basketry (“DOUGLAS FIR.” Plants.usda.gov. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center. n.d.). the seeds of a douglas fir tree are located inside of the pinecone and serve as a food source for some of the wildlife in the area of the tree. The Kings Range National Conservation Area is dilled with the douglas fir, and the tree gives many benefits to the ecosystem around it and people have found many uses for the large tree.
“DOUGLAS FIR.” Plants.usda.gov. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center. Web. <http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_psme.pdf>.
“King Range National Conservation Area.” http://Www.blm.gov. Beurau of Land Management. <http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/content/ca/en/prog/nlcs/King_Range_NCA.html>.
“History and Information on the Douglas Fir Tree.” Douglasfir.ca. Web. <http://douglasfir.homestead.com/>.
“5 Interesting Facts about the Douglas Fir.” Forestry.answers.com. Web. <http://forestry.answers.com/tree-identification/5-interesting-facts-about-the-douglas-fir-tree>.
Among the wide variety of vegetation that grows within the King Range National Conservation Area lives the matsutake mushroom. It is native to North America, although it can be found most abundantly Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. (“Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest – Forest Products Permits,” n.d.). As far as physically identifying it, the matsutake is white in its earlier stages of life but then begins to turn brown as it ages. (“American Matsutake: Tricholoma magnivelare (MushroomExpert.Com),” n.d.). While it has unique rusty stains, the spicy odor of the mushroom is the prime identifier, and has been considered a delicacy by Japanese chefs. (“Wild About Mushrooms: Matsutake,” n.d.). But in addition to physical attributes, the the matsutake mushroom is also unique in how it functions and interacts with other vegetation. It is a mycorrhizal fungi that partners up with the roots of selective tree species symbiotically so that both species benefit. (“BLM Mushroom Collecting at the King Range National Conservation Area | Bureau of Land Management,” n.d.). It receives its food in the form of carbohydrates and other sugars from the tree’s roots and then in return the tree receives water and other nutrients from the mushroom’s mycorrhizae. (“BLM Mushroom Collecting at the King Range National Conservation Area | Bureau of Land Management,” n.d.) Furthermore, This particular species of mushroom is edible and contains a high fiber content so it’s often harvested for personal use. (“BLM Mushroom Collecting at the King Range National Conservation Area | Bureau of Land Management,” n.d.). Because this mushroom is in such demand in this area, the Bureau of Land management had to establish several guidelines for the collection of these mushrooms. In order for them to be appropriately harvested, these mushrooms are supposed to be of a certain diameter, quantity, and even weight. There are also specific guidelines on how they should be harvested and what they should be used for once collected from this area. This mushroom is a treasured delicacy and a valuable asset to the environments in which it resides.
The American Matsutake: Tricholoma magnivelare (MushroomExpert.Com). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mushroomexpert.com/tricholoma_magnivelare.html
BLM Mushroom Collecting at the King Range National Conservation Area | Bureau of Land Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/arcata/kingrange/mushroom_collecting.html
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest – Forest Products Permits. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/rogue-siskiyou/passes-permits/forestproducts/?cid=stelprdb5329343
Wild About Mushrooms: Matsutake. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mssf.org/cookbook/matsutake.html
King Range National Conservation Area, a 68,000+ acre, mountainous region across the coast of California, was first put under protection by the United States government through congressional action on October 21 in the year 1970. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.)The land to this day is still being protected by the government because of its unique features and value to the public. Spanning 35 miles across the coast of California, King Range NCA offers quite the variety of attractions to the public. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) Its coast provides beaches for people to visit and within the sheer amount of acreage the area offers there are many mountains and forests for hikers, bikers, and tourists to explore. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) Within the vast mountain ranges and forests lie many ecosystems as well. These ecosystems are the other reason why King Range NCA was put under protection in 1970 and is still being protected to this day. King Range NCA is primarily known for its diverse bird population but because of that its also intriguing plant population is often ignored. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) There is plant life covering the whole area the most notable of the plants being firs, bear grass, and poison oak. There is also a wide variety of mushrooms within the reserve. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) The fir trees cover a lot of the mountainous regions of the conservation area and the other plants are skewed about the area where people are usually able to observe them due to the plentiful amount of campsites set up around the park. Tourists/campers are allowed to look but not disrupt any of the nature or else they will be fined. (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) The only time it is okay for people to take things out of the environment is if they have a permit to do so (for example it is ok for someone to take mushrooms out of the environment if they have a mushroom collecting permit). (“Discover California’s Lost Coast: black-sand beaches, steep and rugged mountains, and incredibly scenic vistas!”,n.d.) It’s because of the beautiful environment and the endless amounts of utility that the King Range NCA has to offer to the general public that the United States government has protected and continues to protect this monumental plot of land.