Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Environmental Sciences and Management


Natural Resources Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Christopher Surfleet

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Climate change and other anthropogenic stressors are driving conifer encroachment into meadow habitat. Encroachment, if ignored, can revert meadows back into dense forested habitat, negating meadow’s ecologic services (Durak et al. 2014). This research attempts to measure soil and stream habitat disturbances in Rock Creek meadow, located with Collins Pine Company land in Plumas County, California after clear-cut removal of encroaching lodgepole pine with mechanical machinery. Soil bulk density, ground cover transect data, and stream habitat conditions were monitored before (July 2019) and after (June 2021) restoration to measure changes in soil compaction, stream temperature, and surface disturbance (rutting/ tracks). Statistically significant differences were recorded in overall soil bulk density increasing from 0.75 g/cm3 prior to lodgepole pine removal to 0.87 g/cm3 following removal. Comparison between disturbed and undisturbed samples, identified at time of measurement, did not yield a statistically significant difference. Ground cover experienced major decreases in vegetation cover and increases in woody debris, rutting, and skidder tracks. When comparing soil bulk density by cover designation, disturbed sample sites were similar to undisturbed samples. Rock Creek had no streamflow in Summer 2021, making stream habitat interpretations inconclusive following lodgepole pine removal. Continuous monitoring is needed to understand the long-term recovery of compacted meadow soils and develop effective future management of these fragile ecosystems.