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Abstract Detail


Ecological Section

Denton, Renee [1].

Biodiversity and hydrology of swales in blueoak woodlands of the west central Sierra Nevada.

Western foothills of the Sierra Nevada represent some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in California. Wetlands associated with these ecosystems are of particular interest as they represent a spatially and temporally unique yet floristically rich subset of this diversity. Swales are a class of foothill wetlands apart from springs, seeps, and intermittent streams. During the rainy season, the flush of water infiltrating the shallow, sandy upland soils flows into lowland swales before seeping into cracks in the granitic substrate as ground water recharge. Swales form a network across the landscape linked directly to the uplands yet represent a small proportion of the total land area. In order to conserve foothill wetland biodiversity in the future, it will be crucial to identify the components of importance for conservation and sustainable use, and to determine how anthropogenic practices influence these components across the landscape. How will grazing as a tool, or even the absence of grazing, be used to modify the landscape? To this end, research is ongoing at the San Joaquin Experimental Range to better understand how climate variability and grazing affect plant biodiversity and related hydrologic function. Five swale complexes were selected wherein to replicate two seasonal mowing treatments and allow control plots representing release from grazing. Plant species (alpha) and patch (beta) diversity was collected for all 15 swales at the peak of flowering using the multi-scale Modified Whitaker plot method (Stolgren et al.1999). Common native plant species include Eleocharis palustris, Calandrinia ciliata, Mimulus guttatus, Ranunculus californicus, and Sidalcea hartwegii. Ground water height was sampled in each swale with 2 stratified rows of 9 stand pipe piezometers. Moisture in the soil profile from ground surface to bedrock was measured using the Deviner 2000 system. Variation in total plant biomass was evaluated each season along with all other parameters for five years. Best methods for managing and restoring the structure, composition, and function of wetland ecosystems will be developed.

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1 - USDA Pacific Southwest Research Station, 2081 E. Sierra Ave., Fresno, CA, 93710, USA

Keywords:
blueoak woodlands
swales
biodiversity
grazing effects on biodiversity
grazing effects on hydrology
wetlands
Sierra Nevada
oak woodlands
biodiversity conservation
conservation
land management.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC017
Abstract ID:760


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