Ecological Restoration

The long history of human settlement and use in Coastal Southern California national parks has resulted in areas that are ecologically degraded today. Degradation, such as trampling, habitat fragmentation, and non-native plant infestations, has led to the decline of many species populations in the marine and terrestrial community. Gaining a greater understanding of the issues affecting the composition, structure, pattern, and ecological processes necessary to facilitate ecosystem sustainability, resilience, and health is essential to building a successful ecological restoration program.

Current Research
On-going research in restoration ecology is performed by park ecologists, graduate students from local universities, interns and other park partners.

  Cabrillo Channel Islands Santa Monica Mountains
Human impact on plant, vertebrate and invertebrate species within the park X    
Understanding the factors affecting the viability of plant and animal populations X    
Factors that contribute to declining animal populations such as habitat fragmentation X    
Effects of man-made noise on the migratory patterns of whales X    
Relative impacts of different non-native invasive plant species on native species richness   X X
Experimental tests of the efficacy of different restoration practices (including planting practices and eradication practices)   X X
Investigations of the long-term stability and function of restored areas   X X
The role of herbivores in the success or failure of grassland restoration projects      
Population biology and ecology of a number of federally listed plant species in an effort to design effective species-specific conservation and management strategies   X X
Examination of rates of spread of specific non-native invasive specie     X

Research Opportunities
The National Park Service encourages research that helps Coastal Southern California national parks prioritize, design and implement a restoration program. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  Cabrillo Channel Islands Santa Monica Mountains
Non-native invasive species distribution, ecological impacts and best management practices for eradication X X X
Native plant communities that identify successive trajectories, ecosystems characteristics or abiotic determinants of community composition X X X
Trophic interactions, including the role of native and non-native insects and animals of restoration X X X
Recruitment and retention of volunteers X X X
Monitoring strategies for evaluating management actions X X X