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Classification
Scientific Name: Mediterranean California Mixed Evergreen Forest
Unique Identifier: CES206.919
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system occurs from the Santa Cruz Mountains (and locally in the Santa Lucia Mountains), California, north into southwestern Oregon throughout the outer and middle Coast Ranges on Franciscan Formation soils (metasedimentary sandstones, schists, and shales) with moderate to high rainfall. This system occurs just inland from the redwood belt of this region. It also occurs in southern California in more mesic, protected, cooler sites of the Transverse and Peninsular ranges. Historic fire frequency in this system was higher than for redwood-dominated systems (every 50-100 years). It is characterized by mixes of coniferous and broad-leaved evergreen trees. Characteristic trees include Pseudotsuga menziesii, Quercus chrysolepis, Notholithocarpus densiflorus (= Lithocarpus densiflorus), Arbutus menziesii, Umbellularia californica, and Chrysolepis chrysophylla. On the eastern fringe of this system, in the western Siskiyous, other conifers occur such as Pinus ponderosa and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana. In southern California (Transverse and Peninsular ranges), Pseudotsuga macrocarpa replaces Pseudotsuga menziesii but co-occurs with Quercus chrysolepis and sometimes Quercus agrifolia. Calocedrus decurrens is occasional. In the southern portion of the range, Notholithocarpus densiflorus, Arbutus menziesii, Umbellularia californica, and Chrysolepis chrysophylla become less important or are absent. In the Santa Lucia Mountains, stands of Abies bracteata are included in this system and are an unusual and unique component. These stands are a mixture of Abies bracteata and Quercus chrysolepis. The more northerly stands tend to have dense or diverse shrub understories, with Corylus cornuta, Vaccinium ovatum, Rhododendron macrophyllum, Gaultheria shallon, Quercus sadleriana, Mahonia nervosa, and Toxicodendron diversilobum being common. Southern stands are less diverse and more sparse; Toxicodendron diversilobum is the most constant shrub, with Ribes spp. occasionally present, along with much Polystichum munitum. Especially in the south, stands are restricted to fire-protected sites (extremely steep, northerly, mesic slopes and coves) where fires from adjacent chaparral systems do not carry.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: In northern California, especially around Point Reyes, there are stands dominated by Umbellularia californica. These nearly pure stands are a part of this system, as it is a disturbance-driven species and grows rapidly with full sunlight. With time and succession, other trees will succeed into the canopy. This is in contrast to small patches or individuals of Umbellularia californica in some of the various chaparral systems. Here there are no chaparral shrubs in the understory. The presence of Notholithocarpus densiflorus in mixed stands of pine and oak is the indicator species for this system in many places in the Coast Ranges throughout northern and central California.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES206.923 Mediterranean California Lower Montane Black Oak-Conifer Forest and Woodland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000044 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana - Pseudotsuga menziesii / (Rhododendron macrophyllum) / Xerophyllum tenax Forest
CEGL003166 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Quercus agrifolia Forest
CEGL003167 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Umbellularia californica / Frangula californica ssp. californica Forest
CEGL003168 Pseudotsuga menziesii / Umbellularia californica / Polystichum munitum Forest
CEGL005814 Pseudotsuga menziesii - Quercus chrysolepis Forest



Classifiers

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

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Franciscan Formation Soils  
Broad-Leaved Evergreen Tree  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Lower Montane
Ustic  
F-Patch/Low Intensity  
Needle-Leaved Tree  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Abies bracteata
  (Bristlecone Fir)
G2G3  
Boletus pulcherrimus
  (Red-pored Bolete)
G3  
Lilium occidentale
  (Western Lily)
G1G2 LE: Listed endangered
Monadenia chaceana
  (Siskiyou Shoulderband)
G2G3  
Monadenia fidelis celeuthia
  (Pacific Sideband)
G4G5T1  
Monadenia fidelis flava
  (Pacific Sideband)
G4G5T1T2  
Monadenia fidelis ssp. 2
  (Umpqua Sideband)
G4G5T1  
Polites mardon
  (Mardon Skipper)
G2G3  
Prophysaon vanattae pop. 1
  (Scarletback Taildropper var. pardalis)
G4T2  
Thomomys bottae detumidus
  (Pistol River Pocket Gopher)
G5T2Q  
Thomomys mazama helleri
  (Gold Beach Pocket Gopher)
G4T1T2  
Vespericola sierranus
  (Siskiyou Hesperian)
G2  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus chrysolepis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Umbellularia californica G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pseudotsuga menziesii G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Lithocarpus densiflorus G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Lilium occidentale G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Toxicodendron diversilobum G5 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 
Boletus pulcherrimus G3 Non-plant Nonvascular      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Baeolophus inornatus
  (Oak Titmouse)
G4      
Batrachoseps attenuatus
  (California Slender Salamander)
G5      
Diadophis punctatus
  (Ringneck Snake)
G5      
Ensatina eschscholtzii
  (Ensatina)
G5      
Monadenia chaceana
  (Siskiyou Shoulderband)
G2G3      
Monadenia fidelis celeuthia
  (Pacific Sideband)
G4G5T1      
Monadenia fidelis flava
  (Pacific Sideband)
G4G5T1T2      
Monadenia fidelis ssp. 2
  (Umpqua Sideband)
G4G5T1      
Neotoma fuscipes
  (Dusky-footed Woodrat)
G5      
Poecile rufescens
  (Chestnut-backed Chickadee)
G5      
Polites mardon
  (Mardon Skipper)
G2G3      
Prophysaon vanattae pop. 1
  (Scarletback Taildropper var. pardalis)
G4T2      
Thomomys bottae detumidus
  (Pistol River Pocket Gopher)
G5T2Q      
Thomomys mazama helleri
  (Gold Beach Pocket Gopher)
G4T1T2      
Vespericola sierranus
  (Siskiyou Hesperian)
G2      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, OR
Global Range: This system occurs from the Santa Lucia and Santa Cruz mountains of California north into southwestern Oregon throughout the outer and middle Coast Ranges and in southern California (Transverse and Peninsular ranges). It occurs in localized areas of the central to northern Sierra Nevada and southern and eastern 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
5 California Central Valley Possible
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Confident or certain
7 Cascade Mountain Range Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4230
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1043
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2043

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 23Jan2006
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.

  • 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.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • 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.


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