Charles Webber © California Academy of Sciences
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Ulev, Elena 2006. Ribes roezlii. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ .
NRCS PLANT CODE :
Sierra Nevada gooseberry
The currently accepted scientific name for Sierra gooseberry is Ribes roezlii Regel (Grossulariaceae) [20,21,30,35,57,77].
There are 3 recognized varieties:
R. roezlii var. roezlii Regel [30,34]
R. roezlii var. amictum (Greene) Jepson [30,34]
R. roezlii var. cruentum [30,34]
Sierra gooseberry does not regularly hybridize; however, Mesler and others  report putative hybrids between gummy gooseberry (R. lobbii) and R. roezlii var. cruentum in the Klamath Mountains of northern California and southern Oregon.LIFE FORM:
|Margaret Williams ©USDA-NRCS PLANT Database|
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (29,30,54,21,33).
Sierra gooseberry is a deciduous shrub [20,34,77]. Stems are prickly, long, and branching, with a height of 1.6 to 3.9 feet (0.5-1.2 m) [20,57]. Leaves are round and 0.6 to 1.4 inch (1.5-3.5 cm) long . Flower sepals are reflexed, 0.3 to 0.4 inch (0.7-0.9 cm) long  and petals are 0.1 to 0.2 inches (.03-.05 cm) long [20,30,35,57]. Fruits are berries, 0.5 to 0.6 inch (1.4-1.6 cm) in diameter [20,30,57], that are covered with stout spines and gland-tipped bristles [20,30,35,57]. Seeds are subglobose . Sierra gooseberry produces an average of 225,000 to 295,000 seeds per pound . Root depth is a minimum of 16 inches (41 cm) .RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
Pollination: The flowers of Sierra gooseberry are wind pollinated .
Breeding system: Sierra gooseberry flowers are bisexual .
Seed production: Seed crops are produced when Sierra gooseberry plants are 2 to 5 years old [8,64].
Seed dispersal: Sierra gooseberry seeds are spread by animals including American black bears, rodents, and probably birds, mule deer, and cattle. Seeds are also spread by water, especially during spring runoff, and gravity .
Seed banking: Seeds of Ribes remain viable in the soil for long periods of time [48,51]. No studies have been conducted on the natural seed bank of Sierra gooseberry; however, seeds were found viable after 40 years of storage in milk bottles buried 20 inches (50 cm) below the forest floor in Tuolumne County, California. After the bottles were removed, 3 germination tests of 100 seeds each were conducted using 2 cycles of stratification-germination temperatures. Average seedling production per culture of 100 seeds was 7.3 seedlings .
In studies by Quick , Sierra gooseberry seed viability was as follows :
|Seed storage conditions for air-dried seed at 36 ºF (2 ºC)|
|Duration (years)||Viability at end of period (%)|
Germination: Germination of Sierra gooseberry is stimulated by disturbances such as fire [11,13,28,29,36,41,83] and logging [13,62,63,64].
Sierra gooseberry requires stratification at 36 °F (2 °C) for 14 to 16 weeks or at 32 °F (0 °C) for 18 to 20 weeks . Germination rates of 200 Sierra gooseberry seeds were tested in a greenhouse following stratification at 32º F for 100 to 150 days. Germination rates were 80% with a germination capacity of 87% .
Seedling establishment/growth: The survival and growth of Sierra gooseberry depend on the successional development of associated vegetation and the time elapsed following logging or other disturbances .
Although the seedling establishment of Sierra gooseberry is favored by disturbed soil, the best seed bed for Ribes may be mineral soil with humus .
Sierra gooseberry is apparently favored by nitrogen-enriched soils, and survival and growth of seedlings may be favored by an association with whitethorn ceanothus (Ceanothus cordulatus) and other Ceanothus species. Whitethorn ceanothus bears nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules, enabling Sierra gooseberry seedlings to thrive. In addition, whitethorn ceanothus bears spines forest-browsing cattle avoid. This increases the layer of duff beneath the plant, favoring growth of Sierra gooseberry seedlings .
Two years following logging on Chowchilla Mountain in central California, live stem length and fruit production of Sierra gooseberry were examined on bushes growing from root crown sprouts, layers, and seed with the following results:
|Type of Sierra gooseberry bushes||Live stem length (ft)||Fruits/foot|
|Bushes growing from resprouting crowns||8.9||4.5|
|Bushes growing from layers||11.8||7.2|
|Bushes growing from seed||19.7||0|
The fox sparrow and green-tailed towhee, 2 ground-dwelling birds, favor the growth of Sierra gooseberry by creating small disturbances on the forest floor when foraging, enabling seedlings to establish .
Asexual regeneration: Sierra gooseberry regenerates by layering and sprouting from the root crowns .SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Elevation: Elevational ranges by state are shown below:
|California||3,500-8,500 feet (1,100-2,600 m) [20,57]|
|Nevada||5,000-8,000 feet (1,500-2,400 m) |
Soil: Sierra gooseberry is adapted to coarse and medium-textured soils with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5 .
Climate: Sierra gooseberry is a drought-resistant species [8,20,77]. It grows primarily in mediterranean climates, characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters [13,19,74]. It can withstand a minimum temperature of -28 °F (-33 °C) . Mean annual precipitation throughout Sierra gooseberry's range is 18 to 90 inches (46-229 cm) [1,2,14,19,28,29,38,40,63,74].SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Sierra gooseberry is a pioneer species in the succession of mixed-conifer forests dominated by sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) in the Sierra Nevada and eventually is suppressed by coniferous reproduction due to competition for soil moisture and nutrients [63,64].
In California, Sierra gooseberry occurs in secondary-succession montane chaparral .
Sierra gooseberry was found scattered throughout a 2nd-growth sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)-mixed-conifer forest in Whitaker's Forest in Tulare County, California .
Conard and Radosevich  studied postfire succession in white fir (Abies concolor) habitat of the northern Sierra Nevada, California. The percent cover of Sierra gooseberry was greatest on the youngest postfire site (a 10-year-old crown fire), dominated by montane chaparral. Increased light penetration to the forest floor allowed the development of shrubs such as Sierra gooseberry .
The percent cover of Sierra gooseberry following clearcutting in a red fir (Abies magnifica) forest in the Sierra Nevada was as follows :
|4- to 10-year-old sites||11- to 25-year-old sites||25- to 32-year-old sites|
Fire regimes: Sierra gooseberry occurs in a variety of community types with a wide range of fire regimes. In the chaparral habitat of California, fires started by lightning and historically by Native Americans occurred for at least 100,000 years . Native Americans set fires to make hunting easier; to facilitate the collection of seeds, berries, and bulbs; and to prepare feeding grounds for game [5,72]. Early settlers such as miners, loggers and sheep herders used fire "destructively," changing the landscape. Miners cut timber for fuel and mining props and used fire to remove slash [5,12]. Loggers did not practice sustained-yield forestry and cut most of the trees and burned the slash. This resulted in high-severity fires that killed the remaining trees and turned the areas into chaparral . Sheep herders killed many trees to open forest stands and improve grazing conditions .
In oak woodland communities in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, wildfires were historically supplemented with burning by Native Americans to create deer browse and improve acorn production. Since the early 1900s, fire exclusion has greatly lengthened fire return intervals . As a result, vegetation is often a continuous zone of decadent and low diversity brush and trees, and the density of vegetation, especially of interior live oak (Quercus wislizenii), has increased .
In mixed-conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada, frequent wildfires maintained open, parklike stands by the suppression of understory shrubs and saplings. Fire exclusion in this habitat has resulted in the rapid accumulation of litter and understory vegetation . Wagener  reported a mean fire return interval of 7 to 10 years for the area from Plumas County to Fresno County. Kilgore  reported fire return intervals ranging from 2 to 25 years. Others report most fire return intervals were every 6 to 10 years [10,27,49,82], and some were as low as 2 to 4 years [46,78].
Fire return intervals in mixed-conifer forests of the Dinkey Creek Watershed in the Sierra National Forest, California, were studied by Phillips . Stumps were examined for fire scars created from 1771 to 1994, with 1893 chosen as the end of the preEuro-American settlement period. Mean fire return intervals ranged from 3 to 5 years from 1771 to 1893, with maximum intervals of 6 to 12 years and minimum intervals of 1 to 2 years. Lightning-caused fires requiring suppression occurred every year from 1911 to 1965 compared to lightning-caused fires occurring every 9 years during a similar period 25 to 31 miles (40-50 km) south of Dinkey Creek .
In the bald hills Oregon oak woodlands of Redwood National Park, frequent fires suppressed the establishment of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) until postsettlement times, keeping the woodlands from converting into conifer forest. Native Americans burned the Bald Hills every 1 to 2 years , stimulating the growth of native woodland species and controlling Douglas-fir invasion  . Fire exclusion began in the 20th century, leading to the development of a closed conifer canopy and decreased plant diversity in some areas .
The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where Sierra gooseberry is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.
|Community or ecosystem||Dominant species||Fire return interval range (years)|
|California chaparral||Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||<35 to <100|
|California montane chaparral||Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||50-100 |
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi||5-30|
|Pacific ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa||1-47 |
|coastal Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||40-240 [3,55,67]|
|California mixed evergreen||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii||<35|
|California oakwoods||Quercus spp.||<35|
|canyon live oak||Quercus chrysolepis||<35 to 200|
|Oregon white oak||Quercus garryana||<35 |
|California black oak||Quercus kelloggii||5-30 |
Mixed conifer: Talley and Griffin  studied the effects of the Marble-Cone Fire of 1977 at Junipero Serra Peak in east-central California. After studying the fire scar record and sugar pine tree boles, the Marble-Cone Fire was determined to be the most severe fire to occur in the area in the past 300 years. In 1976, 13 study sites in sugar pine/Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri)-canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) forest were analyzed. Plots were reexamined in 1978, 11 months following the fire. Plots were separated into 2 topographic units: "summit" and "slope" forests. The summit forest averaged 5,577 feet (1,700 m) elevation and 42% slope. The slope forest averaged 5,217 feet (1,590 m) and 57% slope. The fire crowned through portions of the summit forest; however, none of the plots were in areas where all aboveground vegetation was killed. A severe surface fire swept through the upper summit forest, killing 85% of the sugar pine and canyon live oak stems. In the slope forest, a surface fire killed half of the sugar pine and 2/3rds of the canyon live oak. The heat generated by this fire decreased as it burned deeper into the pine-oak stand. The prefire (1976) and postfire (1978) constancy percent of Sierra gooseberry in the summit and slope forest plots was as follows :
|1976 (prefire)||1978 (postfire)|
|Constancy (%)||Constancy (%)|
Seedlings of Sierra gooseberry were found in considerable abundance following a 1.5 acre (0.6 ha) fire of unknown severity in an uncut forest at the Cow Creek Guard Station in the Stanislaus National Forest, California, the fall of 1936. Several hundred seedlings appeared the spring of 1937, 80 seedlings appeared in 1938, and 20 seedlings were counted in 1939. After 1939, no new seedlings were observed .
Mixed-conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada often develop a dense shrub cover, including Sierra gooseberry, following disturbance such as logging or fire .
In Blue Canyon near Fresno, California, an accidental fire at a sawmill burned 1 acre (0.4 ha) of pole-sized sugar pine, ponderosa pine, white fir (Abies concolor), and incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). All vegetation was killed above the ground surface. The following spring, Quick  counted 1,204 total Sierra gooseberry seedlings from 10 6.6 ft² plots scattered over 1 acre (0.4 ha).
Prescribed burning: Sierra gooseberry responded favorably to prescribed burning in the following habitats:
Mixed conifer: Kauffman  studied the response of shrubs to prescribed burning at the Blodgett Forest Research Station, the Challenge Experimental Forest, and the Plumas National Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada of California. At each location, 6 blocks divided into 4 subplots were established. Each subplot was assigned to 1 of 5 treatments including: early fall-high consumption burning, late fall-moderate consumption burning, early spring-moderate consumption burning, late spring-high consumption burning, and a control. The following table presents the density and frequency of Sierra gooseberry before burning in 1983 and 2 years following burning, as well as the mean moisture content of the surface litter, lower duff, and soil surface during the burn. Sierra gooseberry was abundant following fire at all 3 sites and most abundant on the late spring-high consumption burns :
|Density (plants per acre)/Frequency (%)||Mean moisture content of litter/duff/soil at time of burning|
|Early fall-high consumption burn||67/1||----/----||500/13||12.9/23.2/18.7|
|Late fall-moderate consumption burn||667/7||1,917/25||1,167/13||26.4/90.1/34.8|
|Early spring-moderate consumption burn||133/3||67/3||967/23||17.0/135.0/58.2|
|Late spring-high consumption burn||133/3||0/0||4,333/43||15.5/51.6/43.0|
|Density/Frequency||Mean moisture content of litter/duff/soil at time of burning|
|Early fall-high consumption burn||100/3||10,033/68||2100/27||12.8/15.7/11.1|
|Late fall-moderate consumption burn||0/0||9,000/63||1033/21||16.0/43.4/22.3|
|Early spring-moderate consumption burn||0/0||33/1||933/25||17.9/119.5/44.1|
|Late spring-high consumption burn||0/0||0/0||3267/47||11.7/31.8/25.8|
|Density/Frequency||Mean moisture content of litter/duff/soil at time of burning|
|Early fall-high consumption burn||0/0||333/11||167/4||10.8/8.7/3.6|
|Late fall-moderate consumption burn||0/0||33/1||0/0||18.3/63.0/11.3|
|Early spring-moderate consumption burn||33/1||233/3||300/8||11.1/35.0/20.3|
|Late spring-high consumption burn||0/0||0/0||2,067/5||12.4/18.7/11.0|
For further information on this study, the Research Project Summary Plant response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture in mixed-conifer forests of California provides information on prescribed fire treatments on the 3 sites and postfire responses of many plant community species, including Sierra gooseberry.
Kilgore  studied the effects of prescribed burning in a giant sequoia-mixed conifer forest in the Redwood Mountain Grove of Kings Canyon National Park, California. The burn was conducted in November, 1970, adjacent to a 1969 prescribed burn, in order to decrease litter accumulations and limit the succession of understory species. The burn killed more than 87% of white fir and sugar pine saplings and 38% of white fir, sugar pine, ponderosa pine and giant sequoia trees 6 to 12 inches in diameter. The frequency of Sierra gooseberry increased following the burn :
|Treatment||Burn plots||Control plots|
Harvey and others  also studied the effects of prescribed fire in a giant sequoia-mixed conifer grove in the Redwood Mountain Grove. The understory composition of trees included white fir and incense-cedar. Overstory trees included giant sequoia, white fir, sugar pine, and ponderosa pine. The treatment in the North area consisted of logs piled by bulldozer, burn piles, and "little" surface burning in 1964 and again in 1965. In the South area, wood and brush were put into windrows by bulldozer, windrows were burned, and "moderate" surface burning was done in 1966. In both areas, Sierra gooseberry was lacking in control areas and increased dramatically following fire, then gradually decreased :
|Abundance (total plants in study area) in North area (treated in 1964)||0||80||83||80||78||43|
|Abundance (total plants in study area) in South area (treated in 1966)||----||----||0||200||2000||150|
White fir and sequoia: In 1996, Roy and Vankat  resampled permanent plots 27 years after prescribed burning in Sequoia National Park, California, to describe vegetational changes and determine the effect of prescribed burning. The percent absolute cover of Sierra gooseberry may have increased slightly following prescribed burning in the white fir forest and giant sequoia groves :
|Absolute cover (%)|
|White fir forest (n=14)||0||<0.5|
|Giant sequoia groves (n=11)||0||1|
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
The response of Sierra gooseberry to prescribed fire depends on the habitat type, fuel load, and severity of the burn. Sierra gooseberry responds favorably to prescribed burning due to increased light and nutrients. Its density increases following high and low-consumption prescribed burning conducted in the spring and fall. Sierra gooseberry may attain its greatest abundance approximately 2 to 5 years following burning when seed crops are produced; then its abundance decreases with time.
Palatability/nutritional value: The overall browse value of Sierra gooseberry for livestock and deer is as follows :
|Cattle||Horses||Domestic sheep||Domestic goats||Mule deer|
|poor||poor to useless||fair||fair||fair to useless|
Cover value: No information is available on this topic.VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Stem cuttings can be rooted easily; however, root cuttings fail to produce plants . Pfister  provides information on propagation of Sierra gooseberry and other Ribes from seed and cuttings. The minimum planting density of Sierra gooseberry is 700 plants/acre, and the maximum is 1,700 plants/acre .OTHER USES:
Sierra gooseberry responds favorably to logging in the following habitats:
Red fir: Barbour and others  sampled 113 clearcuts in 5 National Forests along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada to determine site factors that predict successful shrub regeneration in red fir communities. The stands were 4 to 32 years old and Sierra gooseberry was one of 3 shrub species contributing greatest average cover .
Mixed conifer: The effects of forest management on vascular plant diversity in a mixed-conifer forest were studied by Battles and others . The study took place in the Blodgett Forest Research Station in the Sierra Nevada. The mixed-conifer forest consisted of white fir, Douglas-fir, sugar pine, Pacific ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, and California black oak. The management regimes included plantation, shelterwood, single-tree, and reserve cuts. Sierra gooseberry was common in 3 of the 4 management regimes (measured in 1997) with the highest percent cover in the single-tree cut :
|Treatment||Canopy closure (%)||Cover (%)||Management history|
|Plantation (n=4)||73||2.1||Clearcut 1969, 1975|
|Shelterwood (n=2)||54||1.7||Initial harvest , 1979|
|Single-tree (n=2)||81||2.2||Last entered 1993|
|Reserve (n=6)||87||----||No active management|
McDonald  conducted a 5-year study on species composition and succession following a clearcut in the Challenge Experimental Forest of north central California. In 1975, 8 acres (3.2 ha) of mixed-conifer forest were clearcut. Ponderosa pine was the dominant species, and other trees included coast Douglas-fir, sugar pine, California white fir, and incense-cedar. Sierra gooseberry quickly invaded the area from buried seed .
Habitat changes following cutting, piling, and burning were examined in Whitaker's Forest in Tulare County, California by Kilgore . Two 20-acre (8.1 ha) plots were established and treatments consisted of: (1) cutting, piling and burning white fir and incense-cedar between heights of 1 to 11 feet (12-132 in); (2) cutting dead standing trees and (3) piling and burning the accumulation of downed trees and limbs, which constituted a wildfire hazard. The frequency of Sierra gooseberry increased following the treatments :
|Before treatment||After treatment|
|Frequency (%)||Control plots||3.9||4.6|
Douglas-fir: The effect of wildfires, with and without salvage logging, on adjacent intact forest patches was studied by Hanson and Stuart  in the Klamath National Forest, Oregon. Three salvaged sites, 3 unsalvaged sites, and 3 old-growth sites were studied. The salvaged and unsalvaged sites burned in 1987 as a low-intensity surface fire, bordered by high-severity patches, consuming canopies and undergrowth. Low-intensity broadcast burns were conducted in 1988. At each unsalvaged and salvaged site, transects were established perpendicular to burned edges. Transects were laid out from the unsalvaged stands into the forest interior and from salvaged stands into the forest interior to determine the depth of edge influence (DEI). The following table represents the mean percent cover that occurred in >50% of the plots of each community type and the frequency of Sierra gooseberry :
|Old-growth communities||Burn-influenced communities|
|Old-growth||Unsalvaged interior||Salvaged interior||Unsalvaged edge||Salvaged edge||Unsalvaged||Salvaged|
|Mean cover (%)||0||0||0||0.3||0.4||1.0||0.2|
Sierra gooseberry showed an equal DEI for the salvaged and unsalvaged sites, growing at 98 feet (30 m) from the edge of both sites .
Ponderosa pine: The interrelationships of logging, birds, and timber regeneration in the Six Rivers National Forest in northwestern California were studied by Hagar . The density of Sierra gooseberry was higher on the clearcut sites compared to the virgin forest sites :
|2 years following clearcutting||3 years following clearcutting||5 years following clearcutting||Virgin Douglas-fir forest||Virgin mixed-conifer forest|
Disease: Sierra gooseberry is an alternate host for the white pine blister rust fungus (Cronartium ribicola) [8,43,64]. Life cycle of white pine blister rust is complex. Gitzendanner and others  and McDonald and Hoff  provide details of the rust's life history and ecology. Hoff  provides a diagnostic guide to aid managers in recognizing symptoms of blister rust infection in white pines.
There are no known methods of controlling blister rust . Fungicide application, pruning infected tree branches, and/or removing Ribes spp. have neither eliminated nor controlled white pine blister rust [16,50], and such treatments have undesirable ecological effects .
Downy mildew and leaf anthracnose are common diseases of Sierra gooseberry, causing leaves and fruits to drop prematurely .
Herbicide: The application of 2,4-D kills Sierra gooseberry .
Browsing: Cattle have been used to control vegetation such as Sierra gooseberry following timber harvest. The time and intensity of grazing, soil type, degree of vegetational development, and topography need to be evaluated before grazing can be successfully accomplished [1,39,64].
Kie and Boroski  examined the factors influencing cattle distribution and their effectiveness in controlling vegetation in mixed-conifer forests at the Blodgett Research Station in the Sierra Nevada of California. Cattle favored foraging in riparian areas in June, July, and August due to the proximity of water and an abundance of forbs. In September, they favored foraging in upland mixed-conifer forests where Sierra gooseberry grew. Using cattle to control shrub growth following timber harvest was effective if the cattle were distributed away from riparian areas and into clearcuts where Sierra gooseberry was abundant. The percentage of Sierra gooseberry in cattle fecal fragments in upland mixed-conifer forest is shown below :
|% in cattle diet in 1986||5.1||24.0||7.9||11.3|
|% in cattle diet in 1987||11.4||6.1||0.0||50.8|
Allen and Bartolome  studied the effects of cattle browsing on understory cover and tree growth. Two mixed-conifer clearcuts were established at the Blodgett Research Station. Sierra gooseberry was one of the most common species on both clearcuts. Total shrub canopy cover was reduced by cattle browsing on both sites. On 1 of the sites, browsed plots had a shrub canopy cover of 31% and unbrowsed plots had 75% canopy cover. Cattle grazing effectively reduced shrub cover with advanced planning and coordination .
Other: Sierra gooseberry is a host plant for ovipositing moths of the Great Basin tent caterpillar (Malacosoma fragilis) .
Considerable defoliation of Sierra gooseberry by wandering zephyr (Polygonia zephyrus) and tailed copper butterfly (Tharsalea arota) caterpillars was observed near the Cow Creek Guard Station in the Stanislaus National Forest, California .
Rodents destroyed most Sierra gooseberry seeds in a small burned area in a mature forest at the Cow Creek Guard Station. The burn occurred in 1936, and large numbers of Sierra gooseberry seedlings established by 1939. In 1941, fruits were produced. The number of fruits decreased from 1,206 in May to 25 fruits by August, probably due to browsing by rodents .The density of Sierra gooseberry increased following the removal of understory trees in a giant sequoia/mixed-conifer forest in California, creating more forage for mule deer .
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