Farming has traditionally been viewed as a war against the natural environment. There is, however, a middle path where the needs of the wild can co-evolve with sustainable human agriculture. It’s called Farming With The Wild. We believe that with the proper incentives, assistance and resources, farmers can and should be encouraged to manage their lands more sustainably, and profitably, while protecting wildland values. Our Future Solutions agroecology program, sited on the edge on the Los Padres Wilderness, offers a real-world working laboratory to discover and refine this exciting new approach to farming.

Reptile Study At Puma Canyon Ranch

This spring Dr. Amanda Sparkman and a crew of Westmont College grad students set up boards for long-term herpetological monitoring at the ranch in spots where they would not interfere with ranching operations and are likely to be good habitat for snakes and lizards. Reptiles of all kinds play an important role in a healthy edge ecosystem such as the ranch in controlling rodent populations. With this study Amanda is looking at the differences in reptile species on islands versus mainland. "We're studying the evolution of dwarfism in reptiles on the California Channel Islands," says Sparkman, " comparing them with their mainland counterparts from Los Angeles to San Mateo county, testing for physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in generating these remarkably small body sizes, as well as associated changes in life-history and behavior." By providing a long term study site for Dr. Sparkman we can learn what species are on the property and if reptiles are thriving, thus enhancing our understanding of  a diverse and sophisticated edge ecosystem.  Check out the Sparkman Lab website for great reptile info and photos.


For more info on Farming With The Wild, Click Here