Biomass Modeling of the Ponderosa Pine Forests of Western North America with SIR-C x-SAR for Ecosystem Modeling

We have developed a microwave canopy backscatter model for continuous and discontinuous tree canopies. This model works at P-, L-, and C- bands. Model inputs are stand parameters (stand density, mean stand trunk diameter at breast height, etc.), tree parameters (numbers of branches per unit volume, branch size, etc.), and radar parameters (wavelength, polarization, etc.). Model outputs are the HH, HV, and VV backscatter coefficients, the VV-HH phase difference, and the HH and VV correlation coefficient. All five outputs correspond to five direct measurements of the JPL airborne SAR system.

Multi-scaled Ecological Assessment Methods in the Interior Columbia Basin

The research plan, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, outlines to use extensive databases compiled for the terrestrial and aquatic systems of the interior Columbia River Basin to investigate relationships among multi-scaled biophysical variables and biological features of terrestrial and aquatic systems of critical value in the use of ecological assessment data. The project involves collaborators from across the country, with participation by staff in the UCSB Biogeography Lab.

Modeling the Potential Distribution of Rare Plant Species of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

We are developing a GIS-based predictive mapping system for several rare plant species that will ultimately be used and maintained by National Park Service staff at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA).  This system will include the following:

Vulnerability of Coastal Sage Scrub to Patch Dynamics and Exotic Invasion

This project addresses needs identified through the Natural Community Conservation Planning Program relating to the maintenance of coastal sage scrub communities in southern California. With colleagues at UCSD and Riverside, this project will address inventory and monitoring, species persistence/demographics, exotic and invasive species, and reserve design/biogeography/landscape processes, historical land use/succession.

Landscape patterns of pollen movement in declining populations of Quercus lobata

Fragmentation and population declines jeopardize the survival of many species. Excessive reproductive isolation can cause a loss of valuable alleles, decrease genetic variation, induce inbreeding depression, reduce demographic fitness, and lead to reproductive failure. When tree populations are reduced to scattered and clustered individuals, pollen movement is critical to connectivity. This project develops a novel approach that can cover landscape-scale areas and can be integrated into spatially explicit simulation modeling of landscape changes.

Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Vegetation of California

The PIER (California’s Public Interest Energy Research Program; ecosystem modeling project, led by Conservation International, is a species-focused approach to assessing the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of California. It is part of a broader effort of the Nature Conservancy/Conservation International Joint Initiative on Climate Change and Conservation to understand the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in California and the Sonoran Desert.

Santa Barbara County Oak Restoration

We are conducting a long-term oak regeneration program to improve our understanding of the role of cattle and other ecological factors in limiting or promoting recruitment by valley oak (Quercus lobata), blue oak (Q. douglasii), and coast live oak (Q. agrifolia). We will translate our findings into both management recommendations and prescriptions for restoring oak woodlands and savannas. More than 75% of oak woodland and savanna ecosystems in California is grazed by cattle, making cattle the most pervasive anthropogenic influence on these ecosystems and on their oak populations.