Tanoak is an 'artisanal' product with ecological value
In June, Mendocino County voters approved Measure V, which limits the practice of poisoning unwanted hardwood trees like tanoaks. The hardwood tree treatment has been used by forest land managers to make way for more valuable conifers. UC Cooperative Extension advisor Greg Giusti said tanoaks are "a difficult beast to manage," reported Sarah Reith in Willits News.
The time when tanoaks were a profitable resource ended with the advent of automobiles, reducing the need to tan leather for horse tack. An effort to harvest and use tanoaks in the late 1990s "died on the vine," Giusti said, because of market domination by hardwoods from the East.
While tanoak doesn't have commercial appeal, it can be a fine material for boutique or artisanal woodworking.
As an ecologist, Giusti noted that “tanoak plays an important role in forests,” providing habitat and high-nutrient acorns for wildlife.
"The thought of losing tanoak completely is not a positive thing,” he said