830. Introduction to Forest Ecology

Welcome to Asilomar. This “refuge by the sea” is a gathering place – not only for humans, but also for unique communities of animals and plants. Here, forest, meadow, dunes and coast provide habitats for wildlife. Look up – you might see a red-shouldered hawk flying swiftly through the forest canopy. An acorn woodpecker may be harvesting acorns from a coast live oak or storing its food in the soft bark of a pine. On the forest floor, you might see a black-tailed deer browsing the grasses and shrubs, or squirrels gathering acorns. Asilomar’s rugged coast, wind swept dunes, and rich forest are in a constant process of change. Wind and water continually sculpt the sand and twist the trees. A fungus is attacking the Monterey pine trees. Few pines are naturally resistant. Humans have also caused changes to the ecology. To correct some of the damage done, state park staff has programs set in place. One, all marine resources are protected. No fishing is allowed. No collecting or removal of plants and animals in the tide pools. Two, native plants have been restored in the sand dunes. Park staff monitors the plant populations and diversity. And three, Monterey pines are being grown in the plant nursery to replenish the trees lost to disease. Wildlife is identified and inventoried every few years. You are also a steward of this land. Please stay on marked trails, paved walkways and roads, and use the boardwalk when walking the dunes. Enjoy the plants and animals from a respectful distance.