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Labor and Automation in California Agriculture

Labor and Automation in California Agriculture (LACA) assembles interdisciplinary researchers to solve food system resilience and human-centered agriculture technology challenges while transforming the future of labor and the environment. Funded in 2021 by the University of California Office of the President Multi-Campus Research Program Initiative (MPRI), LACA includes researchers from University of California Merced, Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside. LACA is focused on the convergence of emerging issues along three research thrusts: AgTech, labor, and sustainability.

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In support of LACA, EORS is focused on the application of geospatial technologies and remote sensing to quantify biodiversity subsidies provided by the San Joaquin Valley's riparian habitats to agricultural lands. Ecologically functional riparian zones provide organic matter inputs to soils, filter sediments and nutients, ensure bank stability, and provide suitable habitat for a diverse array of plant, animal, and microbial communties. While these benefits from riparian zones have been explored in the literature, emerging and novel methods in molecular ecology, community ecology, and UAV-based remote sensing present an opportunity to provide a more complete understanding of the benefits of these riparian zones to agriculture across agricultural-riparian gradients.