In late February, in an almond orchard in the Sacramento Valley, the fall-planted cover crop mix of grasses, brassicas and legumes had barely produced a green fuzz above the soil surface, and it was unclear when it would bloom. Unfortunately, this scene is becoming more frequent across California, as climate change causes more prolonged droughts and rain-dependent winter cover crops can barely grow, which delays or reduces bloom, essential for supporting pollinators. Fortunately, California native plant species have evolved with drought and have developed many strategies to survive and reproduce in those conditions.
Would it be possible to...
- Author: Ann King Filmer
Put together a group of hard-working, do-good college students who care about environmental issues, and you end up with a really “Wild Campus.” At UC Davis, students formed the student-run Wild Campus organization two years ago to conserve wildlife in the greater UC Davis area.
Working with campus experts (such as faculty and staff in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology) and local environmental and conservation organizations, the volunteer students are improving the habitats for local wildlife and engaging the public in hands-on activities.
This is an extraordinary program that gives the students...
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
When you drive around Yolo County farmlands, you may see them: a colorful mix of native forbs meant to attract bees and other beneficial insects.
What's a forb? A forb is a broad-leaved herb (as opposed to grass) that commonly grows in a field, prairie, or meadow or alongside farmland.
What's the best mix of native forbs?
Native pollinator specialist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, and research associate Kimiora Ward are researching which native forbs perform the best.
So far, the plants that have performed the best in their Yolo County trials...
- Author: Ann King Filmer
All bets are off in terms of what will happen with plant species migration and crop production as the climate changes globally.
A common assumption has been that native plants and animals would “move,” or migrate, to higher elevations as temperatures rise, to maintain their “preferred” temperatures, but a new report by Jonathan Greenberg at UC Davis, shows that many California plant species moved downhill over the past 70 years.
According to Greenberg, “While the climate warmed significantly in this period, there was also more precipitation. These wetter conditions are allowing plants to exist in warmer locations than they were previously capable...
- Author: Chris M. Webb
In the early 1800s, European immigrants introduced the fast-growing giant reed arundo (Arundo donax) into California to use the canes for musical instruments. The plants were also used for erosion control and the reeds used for thatched roofing. However, it has since naturalized and become a serious pest in the state's natural waterways.
Arundo can grow at a rate of four inches per day and can reach heights of 30 feet. It reproduces and spreads when sections of the stem or root break off and float downstream.
Dense stands of arundo displace native riparian species. The plant requires a significant amount of water, reducing fish, wildlife and people. In addition, clumps of arundo and the soil around their roots...