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Explorit Lecture: Environmental Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation

This article appeared in the December 31, 2015 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Explorit Lecture:  Environmental Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation

marijuana cultivation


By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise


2016 brings with it the return of Explorit’s popular evening lecture series, connecting a general audience with science professionals working on cutting-edge research and technology that affect our daily lives. Don’t miss this year’s first installment on Tuesday, January 5 in the auditorium at DMG Mori, 3805 Faraday Ave. in Davis at 7:00 p.m.


Our speaker will be Dr. Mourad Gabriel, Executive Director of the Integral Ecology Research Center in Blue Lake, California. His presentation, “The Green Rush: Marijuana Cultivation on California Public Lands and its Ecological Impacts,” will provide an interdisciplinary perspective on this pressing issue.


Marijuana cultivation, whether trespass grows on public and tribal lands or cultivation on private lands, has significant impacts on California’s natural resources.  These ecological impacts run deep and wide in many ways and add more burden to the state’s currently strained natural resources.


The fisher (Pekania pennanti), a small carnivorous mammal related to the weasel, has been both the “canary in the coal mine” and an umbrella species highlighting many of these ecological impacts. Due to the complexity of the effects of marijuana cultivation, an interdisciplinary approach has been initiated in order to generate foundational knowledge of the current threats, to address these impacts, and to advise natural resource managers and policy-makers towards potential solutions. This talk will focus on the current wealth of foundational information that has been generated between collaborators.


Dr. Mourad Gabriel is an ecologist whose research focuses on investigating and understanding threats to wildlife populations of conservation concern from both infectious and non-infectious disease agents. His current research concentrates on the vast environmental impacts marijuana cultivation has on California’s unique natural resources.


Gabriel completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Humboldt State University and his Doctorate degree in Comparative Pathology at the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.  He is the Executive Director of Integral Ecology Research Center, a non-profit scientific research organization headquartered in Northwestern California, which also leads several interdisciplinary national and international research projects.  He resides in Northwestern California where he and his family strive to spend as much time as possible outdoors enjoying our public lands.


Don’t miss this great opportunity to catch Dr. Gabriel’s presentation and explore this complex issue and its impact on wildlife conservation efforts. This lecture is free and open to the public. Stay tuned for more topics and more dynamic speakers coming throughout 2016.



Explorit’s coming events:


  • Explorit’s Exploration Gallery is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free. Come check out the new Nano Mini Exhibition!
  • Interested in helping out the community through board membership? Explorit is currently seeking individuals in the community to serve as members of our volunteer board. Please call or email for additional information on how to apply.
  • Interested in membership?  Think your Explorit membership may have lapsed?  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to check or sign up!
  • Birthdays are back at Explorit!  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.



Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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