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Classification
Scientific Name: California Northern Coastal Grassland
Unique Identifier: CES206.941
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system is found in discontinuous patches below 300 m (1000 feet) elevation from San Francisco Bay north into Oregon, on coastal terraces and ridgeline balds in the Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains. Small patches have been documented as far south as Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. It has a similar distribution to coastal shrublands (Northern California Coastal Scrub (CES206.932)) in areas that receive more rainfall than other California grasslands of the interior or southern coastal California. In recent centuries, these were fire-dominated systems, and there is a known history of Native American use of fire in these areas. While still present, annual grasses and forbs are not as prevalent in these grasslands as elsewhere in California. With fire suppression, Baccharis pilularis and other shrub components of north coastal scrub often invade and can replace these grasslands with scrub-dominated systems. Agrostis spp., Bromus carinatus, Calamagrostis nutkaensis, Danthonia californica, Festuca rubra, Festuca idahoensis, Deschampsia cespitosa, Koeleria macrantha, Trisetum canescens, and perennial forbs such as Iris douglasiana, Sisyrinchium bellum, Grindelia hirsutula, and Sanicula arctopoides are characteristic.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES204.088 North Pacific Hypermaritime Shrub and Herbaceous Headland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000971 Empetrum nigrum - Gaultheria shallon Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001564 Calamagrostis nutkaensis - Elymus glaucus Grassland
CEGL001597 Danthonia californica - Festuca rubra Grassland
CEGL003325 Deschampsia cespitosa - Danthonia californica Coastal Marsh
CEGL003378 Calamagrostis nutkaensis - Carex spp. - Juncus spp. Grassland
CEGL003474 Danthonia californica - Aira caryophyllea Grassland



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Lowland
Herbaceous  
Terrace  
Mediterranean Mediterranean Xeric-Oceanic
Very Short Disturbance Interval Periodicity/Nonrandom Disturbance
F-Patch/Low Intensity  
Graminoid  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Woody-Herbaceous  
Hillslope bedrock outcrop  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Callophrys polios maritima
  (Hoary Elfin)
G5T2T3  
Lilium occidentale
  (Western Lily)
G1G2 LE: Listed endangered
Thomomys bottae detumidus
  (Pistol River Pocket Gopher)
G5T2Q  
Thomomys mazama helleri
  (Gold Beach Pocket Gopher)
G4T1T2  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Lilium occidentale G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Bromus carinatus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Calamagrostis nutkaensis G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Danthonia californica G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Festuca idahoensis G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Festuca rubra G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Vulpia myuros 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
Callophrys polios maritima
  (Hoary Elfin)
G5T2T3      
Microtus californicus
  (California Vole)
G5      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      
Thomomys bottae detumidus
  (Pistol River Pocket Gopher)
G5T2Q      
Thomomys mazama helleri
  (Gold Beach Pocket Gopher)
G4T1T2      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system is found below 300 m (1000 feet) elevation from San Francisco Bay (and possibly farther south) north into Oregon, on coastal terraces and ridgeline balds in the Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains.

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 Confident or certain
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
4 Southern California Coastal Range Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 7103
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1131
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2131

West Landfire Legend: Yes
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., T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr, editors. 2007a. Terrestrial vegetation of California, third edition. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • 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.

  • Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. 2000. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 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.

  • Ford, L. D., and G. F. Hayes. 2007. Chapter 7: Northern coastal scrub and coastal prairie. Pages 180-207 in: M. G. Barbour, T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr, editors. Terrestrial vegetation of California, third edition. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • Franklin, J. F., and C. T. Dyrness. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. General Technical Report PNW-8. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, OR. 417 pp.

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

  • 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., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.

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

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Stuart, J. D., and S. L. Stephens. 2006. Chapter 8: North Coast bioregion. Pages 147-153 in: N. G. Sugihara, J. W. van Wagtendonk, K. E. Shaffer, J. Fites-Kaufman, and A. E. Thode, editors. Fire in California's ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkeley.


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Data last updated: March 2018