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Classification
Scientific Name: Mediterranean California Serpentine Fen
Unique Identifier: CES206.953
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system is found uncommonly throughout coastal lowlands and high mountains of the Klamath Mountains and surrounding landscapes where serpentine soils are common in cool and moist environments. This system includes unique assemblages of wetlands species restricted to serpentine and ultramafic substrates. These sites remain moist or wet throughout the year and may have substantial Sphagnum accumulation. Some may be bogs in the sense of nutrients and moisture primarily coming from rainfall, or more commonly they are seeps or fens maintained by groundwater discharge. Soils are acidic and often derived from ultramafic parent materials. The acidic (6.5-6.7 pH) and nutrient-poor substrates produce severe nitrogen deficiency which favors insectivorous plants. Characteristic plant species include Darlingtonia californica, Drosera rotundifolia, Eleocharis quinqueflora, Calliscirpus criniger, Carex californica, and Deschampsia cespitosa. Around the edges of these fens Chamaecyparis lawsoniana can occur and form part of the fen. Burning is essential to maintain healthy stands. Darlingtonia fens are important habitat for rare species that respond positively to burning. Burning at least eliminates some of the tree invaders (Pinus jeffreyi, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) and maintains a high water table, essential for the fen-dependent plants.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000047 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana / Rhododendron occidentale / Carex spp. Swamp Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Herbaceous Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Small patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Moss/Lichen (Nonvascular)  
Mediterranean Mediterranean Pluviseasonal-Oceanic
Seepage-Fed Sloping  
Organic Peat (>40 cm)  
Bryophyte  
Darlingtonia californica  
Ultramafic  
Bog and Fen Mosaic  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane  
Lowland  
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Herbaceous  
Forb  
Graminoid  
Acidic Water  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Campanula wilkinsiana
  (Wilkins' Harebell)
G2  
Darlingtonia californica
  (California Pitcherplant)
G3G4  
Gentiana setigera
  (Elegant Gentian)
G2  
Viola lanceolata ssp. occidentalis
  (Western Bog Violet)
G5T2  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Campanula wilkinsiana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Darlingtonia californica G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Drosera rotundifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Gentiana setigera G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Viola lanceolata ssp. occidentalis T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex californica G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Deschampsia caespitosa G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Eleocharis quinqueflora G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Microtus townsendii
  (Townsend's Vole)
G5      
Thamnophis sirtalis
  (Common Gartersnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system is found uncommonly throughout coastal lowlands and high mountains of the Klamath Mountains of California and Oregon and surrounding landscapes where serpentine soils are common in cool and moist environments.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
206-Mediterranean California C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
14 California North Coast Predicted or probable
5 Klamath Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
2 Oregon Coastal Range Confident or certain
3 Northern California Coastal Range Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9255

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Jan2014
Element Description Author(s): P. Comer, T. Keeler-Wolf, G. Kittel

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Barbour, M. G., and J. Major, editors. 1988. Terrestrial vegetation of California: New expanded edition. California Native Plant Society, Special Publication 9, Sacramento. 1030 pp.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Cooper, D. J., and E. C. Wolf. 2005. Field evaluation of livestock impacts on pack station meadows, Inyo National Forest, California. Unpublished report for Inyo National Forest.

  • Cooper, D. J., and E. C. Wolf. 2006b. The influence of ground water pumping on wetlands in Crane Flat, Yosemite National Park, California. Unpublished report for Yosemite National Park. 52 pp.

  • Cooper, D. J., and E. C. Wolf. 2006c. Analysis of meadow hydrology, vegetation, and soils and suggestions for restoration of upper Halstead Meadow, Sequoia National Park, California. Report prepared for Sequoia National Park. Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Cooper, D., and E. C. Wolf. 2006a. Fens of the Sierra Nevada, California. Unpublished report. Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed stewardship, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Holland, V. L., and D. J. Keil. 1995. California vegetation. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, IA. 516 pp.

  • Littell, J. S., M. McGuire Elsner, L. C. Whitely Binder, and A. K. Snover, editors. 2009. The Washington climate change impacts assessment: Evaluating Washington's future in a changing climate. Executive summary. Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle. [www.cses.washington.edu/db/pdf/wacciaexecsummary638.pdf]

  • PRBO Conservation Science. 2011. Projected effects of climate change in California: Ecoregional summaries emphasizing consequences for wildlife. Version 1.0. PRBO Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA. [http://data.prbo.org/apps/bssc/climatechange]

  • Sawyer, J. O., and T. Keeler-Wolf. 1995. A manual of California vegetation. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 471 pp.

  • Sikes, K., D. Cooper, S. Weis, T. Keeler-Wolf, M. Barbour, D. Ikeda, D. Stout, and J. Evens. 2013. Fen conservation and vegetation assessment in the national forests of the Sierra Nevada and adjacent mountains, California. Unpublished report prepared for the California Native Plant Society and the USDA Forest Service. [http://cnps.org/cnps/vegetation/pdf/fen-sierra-nev-2013.pdf]

  • Sikes, K., D. Roach, and J. Buck. 2010. Classification and mapping of vegetation from three fen sites of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California. Unpublished report prepared for the California Native Plant Society and the U.S. Forest Service, Shasta-Trinity Forest. [http://cnps.org/cnps/vegetation/pdf/shasta-trinity_fen-vegreport-20101213.pdf]

  • Sikes, K., D. Roach, and J. Evens. 2011. Community characterization and ranking of fens in the Lake Tahoe Basin, California and Nevada. Unpublished report prepared by California Native Plant Society and the USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. [http://cnps.org/cnps/vegetation/pdf/tahoe_basin_fen-sikes2011.pdf]

  • Sikes, K., D. Roach-McIntosh, and D. Stout. 2012 Assessment and ranking of fen and wet meadow sites of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California. Unpublished report prepared for the California Native Plant Society and the U.S. Forest Service, Shasta-Trinity Forest. [http://cnps.org/cnps/vegetation/pdf/fen-shasta-trinity-2012.pdf]

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2011. Ecological integrity assessments for the ecological systems of Washington. Version: 2.22.2011. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. [http://www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/eia_list.html] (accessed September 9, 2013).


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