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Educational Material


What Are Those Tags For?: An Article on Tree Tagging

Micah Knox

Environmental Specialist


                If you ever find yourself wandering in a national park, exploring the wooded outdoors, or simply walking in nature you may notice something a bit out of the ordinary. Maybe not immediately apparent or visible, if you look closely you may see a tag or two hanging from a tree. Don’t be alarmed! The trees are safe and accounted for, but do you know what’s really going on here?

Tree tagging, as it is known, is a very common practice followed by a wide variety of departments; most notably The Department of Forestry, researchers, tree farmers and national and local parks. This practice 

is used to identify trees that have been cut down, trees to protect, treated trees, species and genus names and memorial trees. Essentially the purpose is to identify a certain tree based on specified criteria of the tagger. For example, let’s say the US Fish and Wildlife Department is looking to tag and identify trees with disease to track the spread in certain areas around the Continental United States. Tree tags may be implemented to create a database of all diseased trees to show an overarching map of where the disease has spread and what trees are most vulnerable. This can be very beneficial as it gives you direct evidence and data surrounding your topic in question, and helps environmental departments, such as ours, make important decisions regarding the trees in our area.


So, what does Soboba have to do with all this? Considering tribal administration has a designated environmental department, you could say we care quite a bit about the land we stand on. With this in mind, in late 2021 the Soboba EPA embarked on a new undertaking, tagging the Oaks. With no designated end date, Sobobas Environmental and GIS Specialists have been

 attempting to tag every single Oak tree on Reservation. You might think to yourself, that’s quite the undertaking! And you would be right. With easily over 1000 Oak trees on reservation and currently less than 150 properly tagged, we have a lot of work tagging, logging, attributing and georeferencing ahead of us, but we are plenty up for the challenge. With this information, we will be able to understand the health of the major Flora on our reservation, local ailments and invasives that may hinder continual growth of the Oak population, and the variation in tree circumference in direct association with location, elevation, soil health, etc. This information has seemingly limitless potential for reservation data, and were excited to see what we learn along the way. 


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