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    Author(s): Tracy V. Hruska; Lynn Huntsinger; Jose L. Oviedo
    Date: 2015
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-251. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 231-238
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (133.0 KB)


    An ongoing study of the small wetlands in the northern Sierra Nevada foothill oak woodlands that provide habitat for the state-threatened California black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus) offers an example of the way that the social ecological systems (SES) framework can be used to analyze a natural resource problem. At the outset, it was hypothesized that the area's hydrology, West Nile Virus from wetland mosquitos, the population ecology of the bird, and the decisions of landowners would have important impacts on the wetlands and birds. A SES framework was applied to identify and understand the interactions among ecological and human factors. The case of irrigated wetlands in Sierra foothill woodlands turns out to be an example of a fractured SES. Actions within the social system are having profound impacts on the natural system, but these resulting changes in the natural system appear to have little or no feedback to the social system. Intervention points identified include education of landowners, influencing water districts, and incentivizing conservation.

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    Hruska, Tracy V.; Huntsinger, Lynn; Oviedo, Jose L. 2015. An accidental resource: the social ecological system framework applied to small wetlands in Sierran foothill oak woodlands. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Purcell, Kathryn L., tech. cords. Proceedings of the seventh California oak symposium: managing oak woodlands in a dynamic world. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-251. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 231-238.


    California black rail, irrigation, pasture, water conservation, wildlife

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