Innovation in Science, Research and Monitoring is a central part of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s work. Our Science Program conducts collaborative projects with partners, academic colleagues and public agencies so that together, we may apply the best science and practices to long-term adaptive management of the land.
Our science activities are focused on learning and applying knowledge that contributes to higher standards of stewardship on the wildlands and parks. We strive to be a comprehensive resource to enhance the critical role that science plays in the understanding, appreciation and protection of these special places for generations to come.
Natural processes such as fire, invasive species and hydrology that operate on these rare ecosystems must be managed effectively long term. Our Science Program approaches the great challenge of stewarding the wildlands and parks by building on the management work done to date by our partners. We draw from existing knowledge, syntheses of other experiences, cutting-edge management strategies, targeted field research and common sense to guide our contribution.
Three basic principles guide our science-based approach to stewardship:
- Adaptive Management – Success will be achieved long term through systematically testing assumptions, incorporating real lessons learned into transparent, adaptive, scientific, decision-making frameworks, and then acting on them in a timely fashion. Evaluating and applying management at the scale of whole ecosystems is essential to ensure the survival of species, habitats, and ecosystems.
- Innovation - Through on-going collaboration with colleagues locally and around the world we consider, test and evaluate both new and proven approaches to ecosystem management and the restoration of species and habitats across whole landscapes. We base our work on knowledge and practices of conservation and management that have been applied on The Irvine Ranch to date. And we keep close relationships with those working in the four other Mediterranean-climate regions (Mediterranean, Kwongan of Australia, Fynbos of South Africa and Matorral of Chile) and from elsewhere in California to learn from their efforts.
- Human Dimensions – The wildlands and parks are surrounded by a highly urbanized human landscape. Central to our purpose is finding and effectively managing the dynamic balance between the needs of species and habitats and the interests and aspirations of people who wish to experience the extraordinary nature of Southern California. We believe strongly that, over the long-term, in this populous region with enormous pressure on open spaces, people and communities will only support and protect places that are meaningful to them. It is therefore essential to the survival of these rare natural resources that people connect to them in ways that are both fulfilling and do not jeopardize them over time.