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…

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…

July 2014 Wildlife Sampling: Season Two

Before you start reading this post, you might want to start at the post entitled “Wildlife Use of Native Perennial and Exotic Annual Grasslands: A Comparative Study” (https://kristinamwolf.com/2014/01/31/wildlife-use-of-native-perennial-and-exotic-annual-grasslands-a-comparative-study/). That will explain from the beginning the study design and what we have been doing with this ever-growing multi-trophic, multi-season, multi-scale research investigating wildlife habitat use of restored native…

April 2014 Wildlife Sampling: Here We Go!

The coverboards have all been placed, the t-posts are in the ground and cameras mounted, the traps are ready to be baited, 10-20 years ago half of the sites being monitored were restored with native perennial grasses…. we built it, but will they come? Short answer: In droves. April of 2014 was our first season of sampling…

Wildlife Use of Native Perennial and Exotic Annual Grasslands: A Comparative Study

Hi there! Here I will discuss the general experimental design and questions I am asking with my study comparing wildlife use of paired restored native perennial grasslands (hereafter, “restored”) and unrestored exotic annual grasslands (hereafter “control”). Introduction and Significance Intact native grasslands are some of the rarest ecosystems in the world, and wildlife species associated with…