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Chelsea J. Carey

Using Science to Inform Stewardship of California’s Rangelands

About the Talk:

Rangelands account for over 40% of California’s land area. Their predominant use is forage production that supports a three billion dollar cattle industry, but these natural communities are also globally recognized as hotspots of biological diversity. Indeed, rangelands provide an array of ecosystem services beyond food production, including water and nutrient cycling, and carbon storage for climate mitigation. As the land area of California’s rangelands continues to shrink due to population growth and concomitant cropland and urban expansion, societal demands from each acre are increasing. Many private ranchers and public rangeland managers now desire or are expected, to predictably optimize production of the full array of multiple values and services in a way that promotes ecosystem resilience and adaptation to global and regional pressures. In this talk, I will discuss how our group at Point Blue is using science to inform metrics, practices, and strategies that help to meet these expectations in a way that minimizes trade-offs and maximizes co-benefits across California’s diverse rangeland ecosystems.  


Dr. Chelsea Carey is a Senior Soil Ecologist with Point Blue Conservation Science, a California-based non-profit focused on climate-smart conservation. Chelsea received her Ph.D. from UC Merced in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Stephen C. Hart. Her dissertation focused on determining the impact of multiple global and regional change factors on soil nitrogen cycling and microbial community structure of California grasslands. Chelsea went on to spend time as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Riverside where she studied, among other things, atmospheric movement and dispersal of microorganisms. In her role at Point Blue, Chelsea works to better understand the ecology of California’s rangeland soils and to generate basic and applied knowledge that will allow for sustainable stewardship of these landscapes across the state.