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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Characterizing and managing drivers of change in Mediterranean forest and grassland communities

  • Author(s): Dudney, Joan
  • Advisor(s): Battles, John J
  • et al.

Over the three chapters of my dissertation, I combined manipulative experiments and long-term monitoring data from grasslands, mixed conifer, and high elevation forests to explain emerging community shifts in California. I also applied these results to management strategies focused on global change. In the first chapter of my dissertation, I focused on the effects of shifting weather patterns on California’s annual grassland communities. The results highlighted the importance of lagged rainfall effects and two important mechanisms (dry litter and propagule production) driving grass and forb responses to lagged rainfall. For the second chapter of my dissertation, I focused on the causes and consequences white pine blister rust and bark beetles in the Sierra Nevada. Resampling long-term monitoring plots, I characterized how the invasion of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) shifted over twenty years and how recent bark beetle populations were affecting white pine health in the southern Sierra. My third chapter concludes this dissertation by critiquing resilience applications in natural resource management. By combining resilience theory with concepts from the novel ecosystem literature, management of global change can be improved.

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