Skip directly to: Main page content


Truman P. Young - Professor and Restoration Ecologist



Truman P. YoungTruman P. Young

Department of Plant Sciences

University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Room 2234, PES Building

Tel. (530) 754-9925
Fax (530) 752-1819


Researchgate     Google Scholar

Recent lab news:

March 2015     Laura Morales begins her latest field season in the Andes.

March 2015   Kurt Vaugn's paper on the demographic underpinnings of priority appears in Ecological Applications.

February 2015     Kristina Wolf wins Best Doctoral Student Talk at the annual meeting of the Society for Range Management!

February 2015    The KLEE project awarded an NSF REU grant, senior-authored by Grace Charles.

January 2015    The first PRYER paper appears in AoB PLANTS.

January 2015    Jen Balachowski returns from her Fulbright Fellowship in Montpellier, France.

December 2014   Paper on fire revealing cryptic plant diversity, senior-authored by Derek Young, gets accepted in Ecosphere.

December 2014   Emily Peffer Zefferman and Kevin Welch earn their Ph.D.s in Ecology. Congratulations, Emily and Kevin! 

November 2014   AoB PLANTS accepts the first paper to come out of the PRYER experiment.

October 2014    Wilkerson et al. paper on the (cost-)effectiveness of hedgerow restoration plantings to attract pollinators is published in Restoration Ecology.

September 2014   Chhaya Werner joins the lab as a doctoral student in Population Biology. Welcome!

September 2014   Mila Dunbar-Irwin earns her Masters degree in Ecology. Congratulations, Mila!

August 2014   Marit Wilkson and Strarry Sprenkle are awarded Shapiro Family Awards for the best dissertations at UC Davis in Plant Sciences and Agroecology, respectively.

August 2014   Lab members Kevin Welch, Emily Zefferman, Duncan Kimuyu, Kelly Gravuer, Derek Young, Grace Charles, and Truman, and lab alumnae Kari Veblen, Corinna Riginos, and Megan Lulow present talks and posters at the ESA annual meeting in Sacramento.

July 2014    Duncan Kimuyu is named Honorable Mention for the 2014 Excellence in Rangeland Ecology Research travel award of the Society for Range Management

July 2014    Kelly Gravuer is awarded an EPA STAR Fellowship and an ARCS Fellowship!

June 2014    Emily Peffer Zefferman's single-authored paper on native and invasive aquatic plants appears in Hydrobiologia.

June 2014    Marit Wilkerson is awarded an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowhip in Washington, D.C., to work with USAID.

June 2014    Keesing and Young's summary of research in KLEE appears in Bioscience

May 2014     Duncan Kimuyu et al. paper on controlled burns in KLEE is published in Ecological Applications.

May 2014     Hillary Young et al. paper on rodent and disease in KLEE appears in PNAS.

April 2014    Marit Wilkerson's single-authored paper is accepted in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

March 2014    Derek Young returns from his two-month NSF-IGERT internship to Central and South America.

March 2014     Emily, Steve, and Truman bring macrophytes, soil crusts and restoration to the Grand Canyon.

OK, Back to Truman's stuff:

Truman Young CV

Professional History:

2003-present  Professor and Restoration Ecologist, University of California, Davis
1996-2003      Lecturer, Assistant and Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
1992-96         Associate Professor, Fordham University
1981-91         Post-doc, Lecturer, Consultant, Scientific Director, peripatetic tropical ecologist
1976-81         University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.)
1972-75         University of Chicago (B.A.)

Research Interests:

I have broad interests in plant population and community ecology, including 38 years of research in Africa.  For the last 25 years, I have been involved with more applied research at the community and landscape scales in California and Kenya.  My current research projects are related to the ecology, management, restoration, and conservation of human-dominated landscapes.

My current research focuses on the following projects:

  1. Contingency in restoration ecology: priority effects, year effects, and site efferct (PRYER)
  2. Wildlife, livestock and biodiversity in an African savanna (KLEE)


Secondary (and past) research includes:

  1. Planting issues in ecological restoration
  2. The maintenance of biodiversity in a model system (ACACIA)
  3. The evolution of semelparity


My early research (1970s and '80s) concentrated on basic and theoretical questions in population ecology, and the ecology of Mount Kenya

I also have collaborated with Lynne Isbell in her studies of primate behavioral ecology.  I provide a life history and plant ecological perspective to her explorations of how food and predation influence the evolution of mammalian behavior. (Behavioral ecology publications).

I am a member of the Graduate Group in Ecology and the Center for Population Biology. See this link for more details on graduate student research

UC Davis Spotlight article on the KLEE exclosure project

Klee monochromatic

Satellite view of the KLEE exclosure plots in Laikipia, Kenya, where we have been excluding various combinations of cattle, wildlife, and mega-herbivores (elephants and giraffes) from a savanna grassland since 1995.  Each of the 18 plots is 200m x 200m.  This is an NDVI layer of an image taken 20 June 2003 (Quickbird, via Digital Globe). Lighter areas are indicative of higher productivity.  The larger white areas are anthropogenic glades, and the smaller white areas are low termite "mounds".  Both are hot spots of soil fertility, plant productivity, and animal use.

Click on the image to enlarge and display in false color, where the high-productvity areas appear red.