Coastal Sage, Chaparral and Nearby Mountains

Galapagos of North America, uncontrollable fires, and shark teeth as big as a hand

I.  Map boundaries: 30 to 40 degrees North; 110 to 120 degrees West

II.  Country (State): Mexico (Baja California), United States (California). Note: This post focuses on Mediterranean ecosystems within the map boundaries. Other desert and montane ecosystems within these map boundaries will be described in future posts.

III.  Overview

The Sierra Juarez and San Pedro Martir montane forests (NA526), Sierra Nevada (NA527, to be described in a future post), Central Valley (NA801), California coastal sage scrub and chaparral (NA1201), California interior chaparral and woodlands (NA1201), and California montane chaparral and woodlands (NA1203) are all in a region of dry summers and winter rain and snow. This climate leads to distinct ecosystems adapted to summer drought. The map area (30 to 40 degrees north and 110 to 120 degrees longitude west) intersects Mediterranean ecosystems in Baja California and California. There are three distinct mountain ranges. The Sierra Nevada and its southern extension, the Tehachapi Mountains, area a north-south range. The Transverse Ranges (Santa Monica, San Gabriel, and San Bernardino Mountains) extend east-west at about 34.5 degrees north. The Peninsular Ranges trend northwest-southeast and include the Santa Ana, San Jacinto, Palomar, Laguna, Sierra Juarez, and Sierra San Pedro Martir ranges on the map area. Coastal sage scrub is at the lower elevations and is typical of NA1201. Shrubs in the genera Artemisia, Salvia, and Encelia are common, along with woody deciduous shrubs such as Fraxinus, Aesculus and Rosa and succulents such as Agave, Echinocereus, and Opuntia. Chaparral genera are Adenostoma, Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, Quercus, and Rhamnus. Continue reading