Restoration for ecosystem services

Native gumplant with bees in experimental plot
Native forbs and pollinator services in Central Valley hedgerows

Planting native forbs in hedgerows in agricultural areas has become a very popular conservation and restoration strategy. In California, restorationists are placing more emphasis on the previously overlooked forb component of native plantings and providing for pollinator services has become one of the top ecosystem service priorities in agroecological systems. This study examines the success of three native forb mixes seeded three different seeding rates across multiple years. Success is determined not just by cover and abundance but also cost-effectiveness. The study is also buttressed by research done through the Williams Lab at UCD on which forb species are the most attractive to a diversity of pollinators. These results provide much needed insight into cost-effective seeding rates and also the “best” types of mixes and individual species for restoration and pollinator services.

In press

Trophic effects of herbivory in working landscapes

Boran cattle in acacia savanna in Laikipia District

Indirect livestock vs. wildlife herbivory impacts in a Kenyan savanna

Using data collected across two field seasons in an acacia savanna system in rural Kenya, my advisor, Dr. Truman Young, a UCD post-doc, Dr. Leslie Roche, and I analyzed how different types of herbivory indirectly impact a key pollinator guild, the Colotis butterfly genus. The impacts of herbivory are largely mediated through the main larval and food shrub species, Cadaba farinosa, of the butterflies. We used a long-standing herbivory exclosure experiment (KLEE) that has provided multiple useful insights into the dynamics of this working landscape. In this study, we found that when all large herbivores are excluded, the bush species and thus the butterflies are negatively impacted. When only cattle are allowed to graze inside a plot, the bush and butterflies did the best. This study demonstrates how domesticated herbivores can positively impact native (wild) species, balancing effects of their wild counterparts (e.g., oryx, giraffes, antelopes, etc.).

Published paper