Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Flow of Resilience: A Case Study on Working Land Conservation in the Tule River Watershed, California
by Emmons, Derek D., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 106; 28028523
Abstract (Summary)

The long-term ecological health of California’s rural watersheds relies upon the engagement and collaboration of diverse stakeholders. To support Social-Ecological Systems (SES) resilience on a landscape scale, it is necessary to strengthen opportunities for private land managers to share their vision, conflicts, and communicative processes around ecological restoration practice. The intention of this research is to contribute to a dialogue on process-oriented solutions, identify common goals, and build a better understanding of how social and political-economic relationships influence regenerative land management on the ground level.

This case study examines the social drivers of ecological restoration practices on working landscapes in the Tule River watershed of Tulare County, California. Research questions include: 1) Who is involved with riparian restoration practices and what are their underlying principles of land stewardship? 2) What types of ecological restorations or regenerative land management techniques are being implemented in the Upper Tule watershed? 3) What are opportunities and barriers to implementing watershed scale restorative practices? 4) What are the long-term land management goals and visions relating to working lands conservation in the Tule River watershed?

The research methodology consisted of ethnographic interviews and surveys with ranchers, land managers, tribal council members, community educators, and government agents. Participants are identified through snowball sampling, public records, and public agency recommendations. By highlighting the unique context and commonalities surrounding their land management goals, the intended outcome of this study is to better support communicative flow, reconciliation, and SES connectivity on a watershed scale.

Restoration practitioners expressed general principles relating to land stewardship, which were grouped into five main themes. This included interconnectivity, sustainability, balance, respect, and regeneration. The restoration practices included components of passive livestock exclusion and soil conservation, active riparian plantings, and re-wilding of disturbance regimes. Land management visions included the protection of open space, sustainable livelihoods, and political-economic reforms that encourage collaboration around biodiversity protection, diversified incomes, and support for ecosystem services. The stakeholder visions weaved together fragmented components of community and ecology, from a perspective that planning on intergenerational timescales and use of different approaches are necessary to shift from extinction trends towards collective SES resilience.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: House-Peters, Lily
Commitee: Laris, Paul, Dallman, Suzanne
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/6(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Range management, Natural Resource Management, Landscape architecture, Environmental management, Land Use Planning, Conservation biology, Ecology
Keywords: Conflict mediation, Ecological restoration, Refugia, Social-ecological systems Resilience, Tule River Watershed, Working landscapes, California, Land conservation
Publication Number: 28028523
ISBN: 9798698595052
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