White Buffalo Land Trust & Regen Network
Land Regeneration in Jalama Canyon Ranch
Taking over stewardship of the 1000-acre Jalama Canyon Ranch in April 2021, White Buffalo Land Trust (WBLT) is rehabilitating a vulnerable and stunning ecosystem of oak woodlands and chaparral, grasslands and natural springs. WBLT is harnessing the power of research to demonstrate the impact of ecologically regenerative land practices. Using their prowess in education and outreach, WBLT is using Jalama Canyon Ranch as a model for achieving a more regenerated ecological state. Jalama Canyon Ranch is representative of agricultural and natural systems across the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, California, and much of the Mediterranean regions of the world.
WBLT is one of many ecological regeneration projects Regen Network Development, Inc. funded through the Community Funding Program. Regen Network is partnered with WBLT as an advocate for their mission, through collaborative applied science support, and as the Regen Registry platform that will bring their regenerative work to life through ecocredits. The Regen Network Community Funding Program gathers creative community-driven regenerative solutions that flow financial capital into the living capital of the world’s soils, forests, healthy oceans estuaries and the community of land stewards whose work repairs the biosphere’s health using Regen Network platforms and tools.
In April 2022, the Regen Network Development, Inc. team visited Jalama Canyon Ranch for the first time. The visit included a tour of the landscape and science dialogue about how to capture the complex and nuanced ecological changes in the landscape over time through data collection, methodology development, and credit design. Team members Becca Harman, Sarah Baxendell, and Cory Levinson extend their gratitude to Jesse Smith, Director of Land Stewardship, for taking dedicated time to provide our team a tour of the Jalama Canyon Ranch landscape.
The management goals of Jalama Canyon Ranch include regeneratively managing vineyards and orchards, reconnecting riparian buffers, revitalizing pastureland, and integrating tree crops and animals. The WBLT team is designing a robust data collection system to quantify and track climate, management, and ecological indicators to develop insights into the drivers of change for regeneration of keystone cropping systems (vineyards and rangelands), as well as keystone species (oaks and sagebrush) of the region. Jalama Canyon Ranch will quantify carbon sequestration and associated co-benefits such as soil health, water holding capacity, and biodiversity.
Much like its surrounding areas, past land management has resulted in erosion, decreased soil health, reduced water holding capacity, loss of biodiversity, and decreased resilience in the face of an ever-rapidly changing climate. The project team sees the greatest opportunity for impact through regenerative principles, where regeneration of an agroecosystem involves transitioning from its current state to a state of improved ecological functioning while increasing its capacity to grow healthy food. Work at Jalama Canyon Ranch will help identify land steward-friendly protocols for measuring ecological state measures and catalog best management practices for keystone crops and species in the region. The integrated monitoring strategy informs agricultural management strategies, verifies the impact of regenerative management practices, and creates education and research opportunities.
WBLT is working to tell a data-driven story of land regeneration at Jalama Canyon Ranch. The RND team has worked closely with WBLT to execute a baseline soil sampling approach for the grasslands areas. The sampling method accounts for the variability in the landscape (topography, soil types, etc.) and is attuned to usability with remote sensing. The sampling method in the CarbonPlus Grasslands methodology was applied for quantifying carbon stock changes in grazing systems. Along with collecting baseline soil organic carbon data, WBLT is building a monitoring framework and data management infrastructure for the property. WBLT, RND, and the University of California Santa Barbara Brenn School of Environmental Science and Management are working to assess watershed health in Jalama Canyon Ranch, which is a water catchment area for biodiversity and soil health indicators. When data-supported regenerative land practices can be packaged into ecocredits through Regen Registry, WBLT and producers like it will be supplied with financial rewards for the positive ecological outcomes of their regenerative land management practices.
This is only the beginning of WBLT’s work and RND’s collaboration. The Center for Regenerative Agriculture at Jalama Canyon Ranch will serve as a research, education, and outreach hub, helping to further a network to disseminate knowledge, connect and train land stewards in the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, California, and beyond to Mediterranean regions around the world. Jalama Canyon Ranch is a Savory Hub and regularly hosts Holistic Management Intensives. Regen Network is excited for the evolution of Jalama Canyon Ranch and is supporting the generation of ecocredits to fund this critical land regeneration work.
Learn more and connect with WBLT at Jalama Canyon Ranch on our #BuiltonRegen database