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Classification
Scientific Name: California Xeric Serpentine Chaparral
Unique Identifier: CES206.927
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system occurs throughout Mediterranean California (excluding far southern California) on thin, rocky, ultramafic (gabbro, peridotite, serpentinite) soils and in areas below winter snow accumulations that typically experience hot and dry summers. Not all ultramafic outcrops support distinct vegetation; only those with very low Ca:Mg ratios impact biotic composition. This system is highly variable and spotty in distribution. Characteristic plant species include Hesperocyparis macnabiana, Quercus durata, Arctostaphylos viscida, Arctostaphylos pungens, and Arctostaphylos glauca. Common associates include Adenostoma fasciculatum, Ceanothus cuneatus, Fremontodendron californicum, Quercus sadleriana, Quercus vacciniifolia, Garrya spp., Umbellularia californica, Ceanothus pumilus, Frangula californica, and Arctostaphylos nevadensis. California endemics such as Ceanothus jepsonii also occur. Pinus sabiniana can occur at varying cover from trace to more abundant. Many locally endemic and often rare forbs can occur, such as Streptanthus spp., Hesperolinon spp., Eriogonum spp., Madia spp., Mimulus spp., Allium spp., and Asclepias solanoana. This chaparral type tends to have fewer trees than mesic chaparral.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Xeric serpentine chaparral shrublands occurring in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of northwestern California are placed into the similar Klamath-Siskiyou Xeromorphic Serpentine Savanna and Chaparral (CES206.150). However, the distribution of these two systems, as currently described, overlaps somewhat. Further review and clarification of their differences and differing distributions are desirable.



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
Mediterranean Mediterranean Xeric-Oceanic
Ultramafic with low Ca:Mg ratio  
Very Shallow Soil  
Xeric  
Broad-Leaved Evergreen Shrub  
Cupressus macnabiana  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Lowland Foothill
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Serpentine  
Consolidated  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Asclepias solanoana
  (Serpentine Milkweed)
G3  
Ceanothus jepsonii
  (Jepson's Ceanothus)
G3  
Ceanothus pumilus
  (Siskiyou Whitethorn)
G3?  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus durata G4 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Adenostoma fasciculatum G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Arctostaphylos glauca G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Arctostaphylos pungens G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Arctostaphylos viscida G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Ceanothus cuneatus G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Chamaea fasciata
  (Wrentit)
G5      
Melozone crissalis
  (California Towhee)
G4G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system occurs throughout Mediterranean California (excluding far southern California) into Oregon, on thin, rocky, ultramafic soils.

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
13 Great Central Valley Predicted or probable
14 California North Coast Confident or certain
15 California Central Coast Predicted or probable
5 Klamath Mountains Predicted or probable

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
5 California Central Valley Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Possible

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5305
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1099
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2099

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

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

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.

  • Brooks, M. L., and R. A. Minnich. 2006. Southeastern deserts bioregion. Pages 391-414 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.

  • 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.

  • Harrison, S., B. D. Inouye, and H. D. Safford. 2003. Ecological heterogeneity in the effects of grazing and fire on grassland diversity. Conservation Biology 7(3):837-845.

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

  • Kruckberg, A. R. 1984. California serpentines: Flora, vegetation, geology, soils and management problems. University of California Publications in Botany 78:1-180.

  • LANDFIRE [Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Database]. 2007a. Landfire National Vegetation Dynamics Models. Landfire Project, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior. (January - last update) [http://www.LANDFIRE.gov/index.php] (accessed 8 February 2007).

  • 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]

  • Safford, H. D., and S. P. Harrison. 2004. Fire effects on plant diversity in serpentine vs. sandstone chaparral. Ecology 85(2):539-548.

  • Safford, H. D., and S. P. Harrison. 2008. The effects of fire on serpentine vegetation and implications for management. Proceedings of the 2002 Fire Conference on Managing Fire and Fuels in the Remaining Wildlands and Open Spaces of the Southwestern United States. December 2-5, 2002. San Diego, CA. General Technical Report PSW-189. USDA-Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA.

  • Sanchez-Mata, D. 2007. Ultramafic vegetation. Pages 93-104 in: M. G. Barbour, T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr, editors. 2007. Terrestrial vegetation of California, third edition. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • 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.


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