NCEAS Project 2304

A multidisciplinary analysis of alternative farmland-retirement strategies for restoring San Joaquin Valley ecosystems

  • Katherine Ralls
  • Christopher Amrhein
  • Frank W. Davis
  • Richard B. Howarth

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group27th February—2nd March 1997Participant List  
Working Group28th—29th May 1997Participant List  
Sabbatical Fellow1st November 1998—31st January 1999Participant List  
Working Group5th—6th November 1998Participant List  
Working Group25th—26th January 1999Participant List  

In a world increasingly concerned about declining biological diversity, the emerging consensus is that ecosystem management--the integration of biological, physical and social sciences in large scale land-use planning--must be the dominant paradigm for effective conservation efforts. Our team of biologists, economists, modelers, and soil scientists will contribute to this developing paradigm by considering a major ecological problem: the restoration of severely degraded ecosystems. The land use changes necessary for ecosystem restoration are unlikely to occur unless they simultaneously achieve multiple societal goals. We will explore the problem of promoting ecosystem recovery while meeting other goals in a specific case study: the restoration of San Joaquin Valley ecosystems through existing farmland retirement programs. We propose a spatially-explicit model linking GIS data on Valley lands with a spatiotemporal population model for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, an umbrella planning species for 34 listed and candidate species. We will use the model to evaluate alternative land retirement strategies in relation to fox recovery, improvement of agricultural wastewater quality, water conservation, and regional economic stability. Although the model will be particularly relevant to California's Joaquin Valley, we believe that our approach will be widely applicable.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Haight, Robert G.; Cypher, Brian L.; Kelly, Patrick A.; Phillips, Scott; Possingham, Hugh P.; Ralls, Katherine; Starfield, Anthony; White, P. J.; Williams, Daniel. 2002. Optimizing habitat protection using demographic models of population viability. Conservation Biology. Vol: 16(5). Pages 1386-1397. (Abstract)
Journal Article Haight, Robert G.; Cypher, Brian L.; Kelly, Patrick A.; Phillips, Scott; Ralls, Katherine; Possingham, Hugh P. 2004. Optimizing reserve expansion for disjunct populations of San Joaquin kit fox. Biological Conservation. Vol: 117(1). Pages 61-72.
Report or White Paper Starfield, Anthony. 1999. Report on sabbatical of Anthony Starfield, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. (Online version)