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A Network Approach to Understanding and Managing Meadows in Yosemite National Park
A Network Approach to Understanding and Managing Meadows in Yosemite National Park

The meadows in Yosemite National Park form a complex network of interconnected habitat patches. We are using network analysis techniques to understand the network's structure, to model species movement through the network and to model effects of human use on the network.

The meadows in Yosemite National Park and throughout the Sierra Nevada mountainsare islands of rich biological activity, typically quite biologically distinct from the surrounding mountains.  They are also site with relatively high human impact because of their importance in recreational use as campsites and hiking destinations.Using data on locations, sizes and habitat type classification all the meadows in Yosemite, information about environmental conditions (such as date of snow meltout each year), information about the occurrence of species of special interest (such as the Yosemite Toad) and information on the site’s recreational usage, this project will look at the meadows as a highly fragmented landscape network where the connection between nodes (meadows) have a strength that depends on the relative size of the two meadows, their geographic separation and their environmental similarity.  This project will be in collaboration with MRL and the University of California Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute and will both 1) contribute to the development of better meadow management strategies and 2) further theoretical methods on ways to analyze highly fragmented habitats.

Research Team

  • Rich Williams (Microsoft Research)
  • Eric Berlow (UC Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute)