October 1, 2017.
Restoration biology is a relatively new branch of biology and many restoration practices, while transferable, require some degree of tweaking. This is because the same plant ecosystem might be at different levels of ecological ruin and heavily influenced by everything from soil quality, to mountain aspect and sunshine levels, to fog-interception rates. Additionally, different plants of the same ecosystem might respond differently to varying treatments. The plants of this study are located on Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara in Southern California. For the restoration at Soledad Ridge, the treatments include three combinations of drip-irrigation lines, erosion-control wattles, and fog-catching fences. For this study Coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis) and Purple-needle grass (Stipa pulchra) were assessed for growth. This was done by collecting applicable plant measurements (stem diameter, height, and canopy length and width) in 2017 and by both (1) comparing the numbers to measurements taken in 2016 and (2) comparing the differences among experimental treatments. The results show that B. pilularis does best in the fog fence treatment for all measurements, even after excluding casualties. Meanwhile, S. pulchra survivors do just as well in the wattle treatment as compared to the fog fence treatment after casualties are taken into account, but overall survivorship is better in the control treatment. This suggests that restoration of B. pilularis should include fog fences, but restoration of S. pulchra does not require additional measures beyond the control treatment of irrigation only.
California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI)
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under Grant # 1136419. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was also made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher and Researcher Program, in partnership with Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org) and CSU Channel Islands.