Soaproot Saddle is part of the Sierra National Forest and managed by the Forest Service. Jessica Bolis, NEON domain manager, facilitated access to the plots.
SOAP is a mosaic of supalpine forested and scrubland at an elevation of 1100 meters. It is dominated by Pinus ponderosa. Unprecedented tree mortality due to drought and beetle infestations is changing the forest community.
Sampling was done with NEON technicians Kevin Sperzel and Drake Sweet. Sampling at six plots included censuses of the 40 x 40 meter expanded NEON plot areas.
Formerly dominated by P. ponderosa, plot 2 is now predominantly Calocedrus decurrens, with downed trees throughout. Cone counts were completed on newly censused trees and NEON censused trees.
Plot 8 is an open P. ponderosa stand, with little recent mortality. This stand further supports Quercus kelloggii of reproductive age. The understory is sparse, with Chamaebatia foliolosa and grasses.
Plot 11 is located within a riparian zone with a slightly more diverse canopy of C. decurrens and Abies concolor. The midstory includes Corylus cornuta, Cornus sessilis, and Quercus chrysolepis above A. concolorseedlings, poison oak, grasses, and tall sock destroyer in the understory.
Plot 25 is located on a rocky hillside. Few trees share this plot with a slab of granite. Trees include few P. ponderosa, C. decurrens, and one Q. kelloggii. The shrub understory includes Q. kelloggii and Arctostaphylos viscida. The forest floor is covered in C. foliolosa.
Plot 1 is a dense hillslope dominated by P. ponderosa, Q. kelloggii, Q. chrysolepis and C. decurrens. There are many dead C. decurrens and dying P. ponderosa. The understory consists of Ceanothus integerrimus, Q. chrysolepis and Toxicodendron deversilobum. The herbaceous layer is covered in C. foliolosa.
Old growth P. ponderosa occur in plot 4 with C. decurrens, Q. kelloggi and Pinus lambertiana. The mid story supports Q. chrysolepis above a sparse understory.
Plot 3, 5, 6 and 7 were not sampled, due to high mortality rates that have left few live trees and risk of treefall.