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2094

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Protecting the Rivers of the California Delta

How can ecologists help to restore riverside habitats in Central California’s agricultural Delta?

Previously Funded Expedition

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Our research focused on insect plant pollinators and the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere by trees.

We explored the riverside habitats of Central California to better understand their role in slowing climate change.

Trees and shrubs take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and give off oxygen while storing much of the carbon in their woody tissue, thus slowing the process of climate change. Trees and shrubs, in turn, depend upon pollinators (bees and butterflies) for reproduction.

Bees pollinate up to 75% of our food plants, and butterflies are essential for native plant reproduction. In the Central Valley of California, large-scale industrial agriculture does not provide good habitat for these insects: bees and butterflies are sensitive to many of the pesticides that are used to control non-native insect pests. Natural areas such as riparian (riverside) habitat and upland valley oak forest are therefore critical for their survival.

Recording tree measurements to estimate biomass

By measuring the size and biomass of a tree, we can calculate how much carbon it is storing.

Our research focused on two features of the riparian forest: its community of insect plant pollinators and the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere by trees. By better understanding the role of native insects and trees in ecosystems and by measuring their contribution to such vital processes as pollination and carbon storage, we can find ways to protect these organisms and restore the services they provide to both people and nature.



About the research area

Cosumnes River Preserve, California, United States, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

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The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Josh
Viers
Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California at Davis

ABOUT Josh Viers

Earthwatch ecologist Dr. Josh Viers studies sustainable agriculture and conservation in the watersheds of California’s North Coast, Sierra Nevada, and Delta.

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Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

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