“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…

Accepted for publication: Compatibility of livestock grazing and recreational use on coastal California public lands: Importance, interactions, and management solutions

This paper was accepted by Rangeland Ecology & Management on 8/18/2016 and should be published and available online shortly. Once available, I will post the manuscript here! As livestock grazing increasingly moves onto public lands and into public view, potential for conflicts between livestock and recreationists in particular have also increased, and in some cases,…

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…

Livestock-Recreation Interactions Elkhorn Slough Coastal Training Program Workshop

“Grazing is not only compatible, it is mandatory.” – Consultant On September 29th, cooperative extension specialists, public land agency managers, consultants, and graziers met in Santa Clara for a workshop I led on compatibility of livestock grazing and recreation on public lands. As livestock grazing on the coast moves increasingly into the public land forum and recreational…

Livestock-recreation interactions on public lands: a complex emerging issue of conservation, economics, and social responsibility

Livestock grazing and recreational pursuits are often concurrent on California rangelands, but on rare occasions conflicts between recreationists and livestock or graziers arise. I am conducting a comprehensive Literature Review (Part One) regarding issues surrounding simultaneous livestock grazing and recreation on public lands. To investigate region-specific issues regarding livestock-recreation issues on coastal California public lands, I am also conducting…

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.

Abstract: Burning reveals cryptic diversity and promotes coexistence of native species in a restored California prairie

This poster was presented at the Ecological Society of America annual conference in Sacramento, CA, by my colleague Derek Young, on Aug. 15, 2014 (see http://eco.confex.com/eco/2014/webprogram/Paper50354.html). Authors at that time were as follows: Derek J.N. Young, Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA Lauren M. Porensky , Rangeland Resources Research Unit, USDA ARS, Fort Collins,…