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Ecological Significance

In addition to ecological and aesthetic landscape value, another important role of oaks is in maintaining watershed integrity. The sometimes deep, always extensive root system of oaks stabilizes slopes, limits erosion, and allows groundwater recharge. The wide canopies dissipate the rainfall and prevent surface erosion, while allowing slow saturation into the soil. The ability of oaks and other trees to reduce air pollution and trap airborne particulates is well documented. Noise abatement and temperature modulation in urban areas is also provided by the large, dense oaks. These important contributions of oaks to the sustainability and livability of our landscapes are vital. Careful examination of the role played by oaks in maintaining watershed integrity and preservation efforts on a bioregional scale are needed to ensure that the oak woodlands endure into the future.



Altman, Nathaniel. Sacred Trees. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1992.

Lewington, Richard, and David Streeter. The Natural History of the Oak Tree. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.

Miller, Howard, and S. Lamb. Oaks of North America. Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers, 1985.

Rosi Dagit

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) to Ockham's razorOaks - Evolution, Biology And Ecology, Diseases, Distribution, Historic Importance, Acorns, Wood, Ecological Significance - Economic importance