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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Using Historical Ecology to Guide Restoration and Management Planning at Point Conception’s Dangermond Preserve

Five students posing with their project mentors

Group Members: Brad Anderson, Meghan Bowen, Lucy Genua, Kymberly Howo, Genelle Ives

Faculty Advisors: Kelly Caylor

Client: The Nature Conservancy


Final Report


In December 2017, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) established the 24,000+ acre Jack & Laura Dangermond Preserve at Point Conception. The Dangermond Preserve offers The Nature Conservancy (TNC) a fantastic opportunity to fulfill their mission of protecting nature for its own sake and for its value to humans. Given that it is relatively undisturbed, this property is a great candidate for preservation and has been described by some people as the “last perfect place.” It is a unique region of the coast because it marks the latitude at which many northern and southern plant species overlap at the extent of their distributions. Furthermore, the property lies within one of 36 global ‘biodiversity hotspots’ — areas with high endemic species richness that are heavily threatened by human activity. Currently, the property provides habitat to at least 58 special-status species.

This project provided a unique opportunity to use history to inform conservation planning. The property has a long history of human land use, with controlled fires set by the Chumash and centuries of ranching under Spanish land grants. Due to the lasting influence of human disturbance on ecosystem structure and function, a comprehensive understanding of land use history is essential to an effective conservation plan. 

PhD Mentor: Owen Liu

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