Practicum Project | 2010

Measuring the Ecological Status of Restoration Treatments of Coastal Sage Scrub (Cheeseboro Canyon) Using Biotic Proxies

Students: Victoria Crandall, Karan Gupta, Kevin Huang, Angeline Kong, Allen Lee, Stephanie Macias, Phillip C. Wong.

Client: National Park Service

Advisor: Dr. Travis Longcore

Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been disturbed, degraded, or biologically invaded. The ultimate goal is to reestablish a community that will foster both short-term resistance and long-term resilience to future threats. Several papers have suggested ways of measuring ecosystem health but the primary consensus has involved a multi-dimensional approach. This study aims at applying a similar multi-dimensional approach to experimentally restored coastal sage scrub plots located in Cheeseboro Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. We examined biological proxies, including vegetation diversity, arthropod diversity, and seed bank diversity, to compare to reference coastal sage scrub habitat. In congruence with past studies, our findings suggest that the restored habitats have higher vegetation diversity and seed bank diversity when compared to adjacent disturbed native annual grassland and similar, but lower diversity compared with reference coastal sage scrub habitat. Responding to this difference in vegetation diversity and structure, arthropod diversity is lower in restored plots compared to reference plots, and is represented by a greater abundance of scavengers and a lower abundance of herbivores.