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…

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,…

In 2nd Review: Rotational & Continuous Grazing Meta-Analysis

Debates over the effectiveness and benefits of a variety of grazing systems abound, and have been ongoing for well over a century. In 2008, Briske et al. (see Rotational Grazing on Rangelands: Reconciliation of Perception and Experimental Evidence) published a paper addressing this issue, concluding that there is no significant difference between “rotational” or “continuous” grazing systems…

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?

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…

Continuous versus rotational grazing, again: Another perspective from meta-analysis

In an effort to close the continuous- (CG) versus rotational-grazing (RG) debate that has occupied rangeland management discussions for over a century, Briske et al. (2008) reviewed 47 peer-reviewed journal articles from 1950-2007 comparing CG with various RG systems. The authors used vote counting to tally the number of studies that found significantly greater, equal, or lower production for CG relative to RG for three response variables: animal production (AP, both in kg/head and kg/ha) and plant production (PP, kg /ha). They concluded grazing research does not show these two systems produce different results, and as such advocates for RG are likely relying on anecdotal observations. However, a quantitative meta-analysis of the same studies revealed differences not previously detected by the vote-counting method. Animal production was on average higher for CG than RG, but multivariate regression instances in which RG may outperform CG. Anecdotal observations that animal production may be higher under RG than CG in highly stochastic or arid climates was supported at the ranch scale (large scale, commercial-sized operations), but not at the research scale (small-scale, plots-scale studies), suggesting size of operation/observation plays an important role in detection of productivity outcomes. Increased seasonality of temperature was also strongly significant, showing higher productivity for RG systems relative to CG as seasonality increased. However, limited numbers of large-scale experiments in arid environments (8) included in the 2008 paper make conclusive statements regarding grazing system effectiveness difficult. These results suggest the possibility of RG outperforming CG for animal production at large scales in less constant, arid climates – where most livestock grazing occurs.

Effects of high-density, short-duration planned livestock grazing on soil carbon sequestration potentials in a coastal California mixed grassland

Here you will find a link to my master’s thesis focusing on the effects of holistic planned grazing on soil chemistry, as compared to ungrazed plots. http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/603/ An undergraduate student followed up on my work (I was not involved in any way, but it is an interesting follow-up!): http://tinyurl.com/o24qapb If you have any questions, please feel…