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Classification
Scientific Name: Northern California Coastal Scrub
Unique Identifier: CES206.932
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system includes a variety of mixed and single-species-dominated shrublands along a narrow coastal strip with maritime and summer fog influences, on marine sediments, coastal bluffs, terraces, stabilized dunes, and hills below 500 m (1500 feet) elevation from southern Oregon south through central California. It is restricted to coastal plateaus and lower slopes of the Coast Ranges where precipitation ranges from 50-200 cm annually. These are dominated by evergreen, microphyllous-leaved or hemi-sclerophyllous shrub taxa; drought-deciduous species are unimportant or absent in this system. Dense shrublands typically include a well-developed woody and herbaceous understory. Characteristic species include Baccharis pilularis, Lupinus arboreus, Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, Eriophyllum stoechadifolium, Diplacus aurantiacus (= Mimulus aurantiacus), Toxicodendron diversilobum, Rubus ursinus, Rubus parviflorus, Rubus spectabilis, Frangula californica (= Rhamnus californica), Holodiscus discolor, Gaultheria shallon, Heracleum maximum (= Heracleum lanatum), and Polystichum munitum. These areas have supported extensive stand-replacing wildfires. This system has direct seral relationships with California Northern Coastal Grassland (CES206.941) as, in the absence of fire and grazing, the grassland will usually succeed to this system. In the absence of fire in this system, conifers (Abies grandis, Pseudotsuga menziesii) can invade and become prominent.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Transitions to Southern California Coastal Scrub (CES206.933) begin in the northern San Francisco Bay area where Artemisia californica begins to mix with Baccharis and others. Further south in the Santa Lucia Range (Big Sur area of Monterey County), Baccharis pilularis and Artemisia californica tend to codominate, and other southern coastal sage species such as Salvia leucophylla and Eriogonum fasciculatum become more prominent. South of Monterey County most of the northern California coastal scrub influence is gone, and coastal shrublands shift to Southern California Coastal Scrub (CES206.933). The combination of <30% relative cover of Artemisia californica or Salvia spp. and high cover Baccharis and Rhamnus, or having Polystichum munitum, Gaultheria shallon, and Heracleum maximum makes it Northern California Coastal Scrub (CES206.932).

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES206.933 Southern California Coastal Scrub


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL003183 Baccharis pilularis / Annual Grass-Herb Shrubland
CEGL003184 Baccharis pilularis - Artemisia californica Shrubland
CEGL003185 Baccharis pilularis / Carex obnupta - Juncus patens Shrubland
CEGL003186 Baccharis pilularis - Ceanothus thyrsiflorus Shrubland
CEGL003187 Baccharis pilularis / Danthonia californica Shrubland
CEGL003188 Baccharis pilularis / Deschampsia cespitosa Shrubland
CEGL003189 Baccharis pilularis / Dudleya farinosa Shrubland
CEGL003190 Baccharis pilularis - Eriophyllum stoechadifolium Shrubland
CEGL003191 Baccharis pilularis - Frangula californica - Rubus parviflorus Shrubland
CEGL003192 Baccharis pilularis - Holodiscus discolor Shrubland
CEGL003193 Baccharis pilularis - Lupinus (arboreus, chamissonis) Shrubland
CEGL003194 Baccharis pilularis / Nassella pulchra Shrubland
CEGL003195 Baccharis pilularis / Polystichum munitum Shrubland
CEGL003196 Baccharis pilularis - Rubus ursinus / Weedy Herbs Shrubland
CEGL003197 Baccharis pilularis - Toxicodendron diversilobum Shrubland
CEGL003198 Ceanothus thyrsiflorus - Baccharis pilularis - Toxicodendron diversilobum Shrubland
CEGL003316 Frangula californica ssp. californica - Baccharis pilularis / Scrophularia californica Shrubland
CEGL003472 Rubus spectabilis Wet Shrubland
CEGL003473 Toxicodendron diversilobum - Baccharis pilularis - Rubus parviflorus Shrubland



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Woody-Herbaceous  
Bluff  
Marine Sedimentary  
Mediterranean Mediterranean Xeric-Oceanic
Baccharis pilularis  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Foothill
Lowland Lowland
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Herbaceous  
Dune (Landform)  
Terrace  
Sideslope  
Intermediate Disturbance Interval  
F-Landscape/High Intensity  

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  
Castilleja mendocinensis
  (Mendocino Coast Indian-paintbrush)
G2  
Eriophyllum stoechadifolium
  (Seaside Woolly-sunflower)
G3G4  
Hesperevax sparsiflora var. brevifolia
  (Seaside Evax)
G4T3  
Icaricia saepiolus littoralis
  (Coastal Greenish Blue)
G5T1T3  
Lasthenia macrantha ssp. macrantha
  (Perennial Goldfields)
G3T2  
Lupinus arboreus
  (Tree Lupine)
G3G4  
Oenothera wolfii
  (Wolf's Evening-primrose)
G2  
Phacelia argentea
  (Silvery Phacelia)
G2  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Artemisia californica G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Holodiscus discolor G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Baccharis pilularis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Frangula californica ssp. californica T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lupinus arboreus G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Castilleja mendocinensis G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hesperevax sparsiflora var. brevifolia T3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lasthenia macrantha ssp. macrantha T2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Oenothera wolfii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Phacelia argentea G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Toxicodendron diversilobum G5 Liana 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      
Icaricia saepiolus littoralis
  (Coastal Greenish Blue)
G5T1T3      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system occurs along a narrow coastal strip below 500 m (1500 feet) elevation from southern Oregon south through central California.

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
15 California Central Coast Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
2 Oregon Coastal Range Predicted or probable
3 Northern California Coastal Range Confident or certain
4 Southern California Coastal Range Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5457
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1128
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2128

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 07Oct2005
Element Description Author(s): P. Comer, T. Keeler-Wolf

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.

  • 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.

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


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