Coexisting with cannabis: Wildlife response to marijuana cultivation in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion
California Fish and Wildlife Journal
P. Parker-Shames, W. Xu, L. Rich, and J. Brashares
Example night-time photograph from a motion detection camera in study of wildlife interaction with cannabis cultivation region in southern Oregon.
As legal cannabis agriculture expands in rural areas, wildlife will respond, but how? In the biodiverse region of Klamath-Siskiyou in southern Oregon, cameras positioned around small cannabis farms reveal individual responses of different species.

Southern Oregon is a biodiverse region and a pioneer in outdoor cannabis production. From this region, our wildlife occupancy study promises to inform environmental policy in other regions where cannabis cultivation is expanding. Using motion-triggered cameras, we captured and analyzed the occurrence of wild and domestic animals surrounding eight cannabis farms within the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion in southern Oregon. We assessed how cannabis production influenced the space use of black-tailed deer , lagomorphs, and gray fox. We found that wildlife communities on cannabis farms differed from surrounding uncultivated areas. Cannabis farms had higher levels of human activity, including a higher proportion of domestic dog and cat occupations, than comparison sites. Among wildlife detections, farms were generally occupied by smaller-bodied wildlife species. The presence of a cannabis farm helped explain detection probabilities of deer and gray fox, but did not affect lagomorphs. Overall, our results suggest species-specific responses to cannabis cultivation, suggesting potential impacts on surrounding ecological communities.