Wildlands Weed Management

The rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Preserve contain a dramatic diversity of species and natural communities including a number that are endemic, occuring nowhere else on the planet, making them especially valuable. Nearly 600 species of plants, from 93 families, have been identified within The Preserve‚Äôs boundaries. Of these species, there are many that are considered invasive, and are equipped to out compete native species by benefiting from the local moderate mediterranean climate, and pose a threat to these native natural communities of The Preserve. The Santa Lucia Conservancy manages its 10,350 acres of fee-owned lands (the “Wildlands”) for ecological values consistent with its weed management plan. Control measures utilized include manual or mechanical removal, herbicide application, prescribed burning, and grazing with our resident herd of cattle as required to meet our ecological goals. Each of these methods, carefully applied, creates an impact that negatively affects the targeted invasive species without a negative impact on native species. The efficacy of these control measures is carefully monitored and their application modified as needed. The metrics of success of this management include reduction of invasive plant species and increase of native plant cover.