“The century experiment: the first twenty years of UC Davis’ Mediterranean agroecological experiment” available online!

This manuscript comes with a large 20-year dataset characterizing various physicochemical soil and crop productivity parameters over a twenty-year period at UC Davis’ long-term agricultural experiment station, otherwise known as “Russell Ranch”. Abstract. The Century Experiment at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility at the University of California, Davis provides long-term agroecological data from row…

Wildlife responses to restoration article submitted to Journal of Applied Ecology

Restorationists often hope and expect that wildlife will increase in abundance and diversity when “native” habitats are restored, but this assumption has not been well-investigated for most wildlife species, particularly in grasslands, and even more so in the Central Valley of California. From 2014 to 2015 I conducted a rather ambitious spatiotemporally replicated natural experiment investigating wildlife…

Rodents, Snakes, and Raptors, oh my!

Wildlife responses to grassland restoration are perhaps more complex and less predictable than previously thought. I gave the most complete presentation of the results of my wildlife-grassland restoration research in an invited talk to the Sacramento-Shasta Chapter of The Wildlife Society (Invited Talk Flyer) at end of August, and the presentation can be found here. While more analyses…

Persistent asymmetrical priority effects in a California grassland restoration experiment article officially out!

Our paper entitled “Persistent asymmetrical priority effects in a California grassland restoration experiment” is now published online with Ecological Applications! You can find the full text here, Persistent asymmetrical priority effects in a California grassland restoration experiment, or download PDF here, and the archived dataset here, Dataset. Citation: Werner CM, Vaughn KJ, Stuble KL, Wolf K, Young TP. 2016. Persistent asymmetrical priority effects in a California grassland restoration…

“Summer water in a restored native grassland flushes annual grass seed bank but fails to increase native perennial cover” published!

Our manuscript entitled “Summer water in a restored native grassland flushes annual grass seed bank but fails to increase native perennial cover”, co-authored with Dr. Truman P. Young, has been published in the journal Ecosphere (see link here, or download here with supplemental material here). In this manuscript we detail our experiment to test summer watering to ‘flush’ the…

Summer Watering to Flush Seedbanks manuscript is out!

PDF Download can be found here: Wolf and Young 2016 Online access can be otained here: Ecosphere Title: Summer water in a restored native grassland flushes annual grass seed bank but fails to increase native perennial cover Authors: K.M. Wolf and T.P. Young Citation: Wolf, K. M., and T. P. Young. 2016. Summer water in a restored…

Rancher-to-Rancher at Sierra Foothills Conservancy

I was lucky enough to spend last Saturday with the Rancher-to-Rancher program and my good friend and Cowboy Conservationist Kent Reeves at the stunningly beautiful Sierra Foothills Conservancy. Peter Donovan, founder of the Soil Carbon Coalition, wrote up a great summary of how livestock are being used as a beneficial tool to manage vegetation and soils…

Restoration is Best for Wildlife, Right?

Double whammy in the Winter 2016 issue of California Native Grassland Association’s publication, Grasslands! This issue contains an article I wrote about the overall results of my study comparing wildlife in restored and unrestored grasslands in the Central Valley of California (see A Comparative Study for a recap), as well as a one-page biographical piece on yours truly. Download the…

Restoration is best for wildlife, right?

Today I gave a talk at the 69th Annual Society for Range Management meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas about my wildlife-restoration project in the Central Valley of California. Take a look at the abstract and click on the link below to see the PDF version of my presentation. I’m having a lot of fun catching up…

California Native Plant Society Conservation Conference, 2015

In California’s Central Valley, 98% of native grasslands have been destroyed or degraded due to weed invasion, farming, development, and habitat fragmentation. Grassland restoration is often assumed to provide a host of ecosystem services, including improved wildlife habitat, and therefore should result in higher wildlife abundance and diversity relative to unrestored and invaded grasslands. We compared relative wildlife utilization at paired restored and unrestored (control) grasslands at four locations in Yolo and Sacramento counties using live and camera traps, snake boards, and observational surveys in the spring and summer of 2014. Restored sites were planted with native perennial grasses 10-20 years ago but are heavily invaded with Mediterranean annual grasses and forbs. Control sites contained similar non-native plant assemblages but did not have any native grass cover. In general, mouse, vole, and snake utilization was higher at control relative to restored sites in both spring and summer. Summer raptor surveys revealed greater species diversity, foraging time, and attack rates at control sites as well, likely in response to greater rodent abundance. Within sites, species-specific responses were related to vegetative cover and percent bare ground. For example, Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse, Cricetidae) was associated with high bare ground and low vertical cover, regardless of site type (control/restored). Results from continued seasonal monitoring through winter 2016 may aid in clarifying goals and methods of restoration, but these current results suggest that restoring native California grasslands may not increase wildlife utilization, suggesting a more nuanced approach is required for the restoration of biodiversity.

Invasive Fire Ants in Restored and Unrestored Central Valley grasslands

I mentioned earlier that I have started monitoring invasive Argentinian fire ant infestation of Sherman live traps during my rodent trapping periods. Initial data collection began in July 2014 for a subset of trapping days at two of the four locations where I am monitoring wildlife. The number of live traps infested with fire ants was used as an…