Local Efforts, Global Relevance

Audubon Canyon Ranch believes that global change begins locally. ACR’s scientific work provides solutions to global problems in conservation biology and helps to resolve regional conservation issues. ACR scientists contribute to conservation efforts worldwide by presenting the results of our work in peer-reviewed scientific journals and in easily accessible electronic media. To ensure that our work helps to resolve real problems in regional conservation, our efforts extend beyond publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals.  Conservation Science at ACR includes considerable effort to interpret the implications of our work to government agencies, planners, land managers, community organizations and the public. 

ACR science addresses real problems in Bay Area landscapes, including challenges to dwindling biodiversity and habitat loss, threats to wetlands, and the protection of the natural systems that surround us. Program activities focus on restoration ecology, stewardship of natural areas and wetlands issues, especially in coastal and estuarine systems. Activities also include studies of populations, habitat relationships, and behavioral ecology of birds, especially herons and egrets, and the conservation status and local ecology of mountain lions as top predators that help to maintain the dynamics and diversity of the natural areas in our region. 

Watersheds, Wetlands and Mountain Ranges

Effective contributions in conservation science must consider natural populations and ecological processes that operate at spatial scales much larger than those represented by ACR preserves. Therefore, our scientific work addresses conservation issues related to the habitat use, behaviors and population dynamics of organisms such as herons, egrets, and other waterbirds, mountain lions, and even local plants, that depend on healthy regional landscapes.

Landscapes of particular ecological interest to ACR include the watersheds of Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, and Sonoma/Stuart Creek, and key portions of the Russian River watershed in the Central Mayacamas Mountains of northern Sonoma County. Some species studied by ACR, such as herons and egrets, depend on the environmental health of larger areas, such as San Francisco Bay and the Central Valley, and our investigations of mountain lions are focused on available habitat in the coastal mountain ranges of central California. 

A Committed Community

Much of our work in conservation science and stewardship involves large numbers of volunteers. The results lead to numerous interpretive applications that promote ecological literacy and foster an appreciation of nature. Our goal is to develop a community—including scientists, decision makers, and volunteers—that understands conservation science and has a shared commitment to regional conservation. 

Conservation science at ACR benefits and influences the activities of numerous sister environmental organizations, neighboring landowners and local, regional, and state planning agencies. Hundreds of community volunteers and more than 15,000 Bay Area students and families experience their natural heritage through visits to ACR sanctuaries each year.

Photo Credits: 

  • Bob Hart