Principle Investigator: Dr. Valarie Eviner, Department of Plant Sciences
University of California Davis, for more project information click here
Range managers face increasing pressure to maximize forage quantity and quality while providing key ecosystem services. Managing for multiple goals is particularly challenging in California grasslands, where there are substantial gaps in our understanding of controls over variability in N cycling and Net Primary Productivity (NPP) - the fundamental processes that drive community and biogeochemical processes. This study will provide unique insights into a number of fields of ecology due to its links between population, community, and ecosystem ecology with the following objectives: 1) continue assessment of how environmental conditions and range management practices alter RDM, seedling density, and thinning dynamics, 2) continue to test the impacts of seedling thinning versus Residual Dry Matter (RDM) inputs on: forage productivity and quality, soil nutrient supply and retention, erosion control, weed suppression, and soil water infiltration and storage, and 3) assess how grazing timing and intensity impact seed production and seedling thinning, and how these interact with RDM to determine grazing impacts on nutrient availability and plant production.