Beyond Recovery: Restoration for the Future

The 26th Annual Conference of the California Society for Ecological Restoration: 10–12 April 2019 at the santa barbara veteran’s building in downtown santa barbara

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The ecological systems of our beautiful state of California are under almost constant siege from one or more of the impacts from the past (historical land use practices and extensive development), the present (prolonged droughts, history-making wildfires, flooding, and massive mudslides), and the future (climate change and increasing human pressures). Looking beyond recovery, our collective restoration expertise and efforts must work towards models of resiliency that will address ecosystem recovery for both today’s and for tomorrow’s generations.

Please join our gathering of habitat restoration experts to contribute and learn from partners on how best to apply state-of-the-art restoration lessons and approaches. Participants will have the opportunity to share the science, art, and passion of ecological restoration as we look towards future challenges and opportunities.

Whether you work statewide or locally along the Central Coast, we look forward to your participation at SERCAL’s 26th Annual Conference in Santa Barbara.
— SERCAL 2019 Conference Co-Chairs, Mauricio Gomez | South Coast Habitat Restoration and Will Spangler | H. T. Harvey & Associates

Call for Abstracts

Poster Abstracts are being accepted through 15 March 2019 but earlier submissions are encouraged. The deadline for submitting Technical Abstracts has passed.  Call for Abstracts Brochure and Guidelines for Abstracts  |  Online Abstract Submission Form is below

Technical Sessions

Restoration and Recovery after Fire and Debris Flows Restoration and monitoring in a time of increased fire risk Session chair: Stacie Smith, NOAA

Water Conservation for Improved Habitats How water conservation ripples through restoration from landscape design to instream flows Session Chair: Jane Gray, DUDEK

Technology and Tools Emerging tools for field work and data analysis Session Chair: Kari Dupler, WRA

Mitigation Banking, Land Use, and Conservation Opportunities to conserve and protect habitat Session Chair: Carol Presley, Carol Presley Consulting

Threats, Pests, and Pathogens How Phytophthora, shot-hole borers, pine bark beetles, aquatic pests, and climate change impact landscapes Session Chair: Ralph Vigil, Habitat Restoration Sciences

Coastal Restoration and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Increasing resiliency to sea-level rise in coastal, island, and estuarine projects Session Chair: Jeannine Ross, KMEA

Grassland Ecosystems and Coastal Prairies Restoration of some of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States Session Chair: JP Marié, CNGA

Stream and Fisheries Restoration Interplay of riparian habitat, geomorphology, invasive species management, and fisheries health Session Chair: Ross Taylor, Ross Taylor and Associates

Plus a Poster Session featuring a Student Poster Competition Session Chair: Elihu Gevirtz, Channel Islands Restoration


Are you a student? contact to learn about student scholarships.

Please use the form below to submit your technical session or poster abstract for the 2019 SERCAL Conference. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact Julie at Missed the link to the Guidelines for Abstracts? Here you go…

Your accepted abstract will allow you to register at a substantial presenter discount. It’s our way of saying thanks!  But please register during early registration!

The Finer Details: Abstracts

The following is an example of a well-crafted abstract, in fact an abstract for an award-winning poster at our 2018 Conference in San Diego: 

Lindsey Hendricks-Franco

Email Address:

Abstract Title: Linking herbaceous plant growth and soil recovery after fire in California shrublands

Author(s): Lindsey Hendricks-Franco(1)*, Wayne P. Sousa(1), Scott L. Stephens(2)
(1)University of California, Berkley, Department of Integrative Biology
(2)University of California, Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

Content: Restoration strategies that target soil quality can drive revegetation efforts, enhance soil-based ecosystem services, and increase resilience to future disturbance. However, a challenge in implementing soil-based restoration goals is the lack of research linking above-ground and below-ground ecology. I investigated how naturally-occurring herbs drive the recovery of post-fire soils in California chaparral shrublands. After fire, bare soil is coated with ash rich in mineral nitrogen, which provides fertilizer for recovering plants, but can also be washed away from soils, polluting nearby bodies of water and slowing shrub growth. Luckily, burnt chaparral soil is rapidly colonized by abundant and diverse native herbaceous plants. While these herb communities may only live for the two years after fire, the play a potentially important role in retaining ash nitrogen in soil and rebuilding soil organic matter. To test the impact of herb functional diversity on post-fire soil N-cycling, microbial activity, and organic matter formation, I introduced a landscape-scale herb-manipulation experiment (Mendocino County, CA). I weeded 2mx3m plots so that they contained: (1) all naturally-occurring herbs, (2) non-N-fixers only, (3) N-fixers only, or (4) no herbs. In tandem, I established fenced plots to exclude mammalian herbivores, which are predicted to accelerate soil recovery. Preliminary results show that post-fire soil restoration is driven by a mix of N-fixing and non-N-fixing herbs, and that herbivores stimulate sol recovery, especially where herb cover is naturally low. These results will help managers improve disturbed soils through strategic revegetation and grazer introduction.