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CNHG Introduction to the Plant Life of Southern California, Coast to the Foothills

CNHG Introduction to the Plant Life of Southern California, Coast to the Foothills

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Field guides often provide little ecological information, or context, for understanding the plants they identify. This book, with its engaging text and attractive illustrations, for the first time provides an ecological framework for the plants and their environments in the coast and foothill regions of Southern California, an area that boasts an extremely rich flora. It will introduce a wide audience—from general readers and students to natural history and outdoor enthusiasts—to Southern California's plant communities, their ecological dynamics, and the key plants that grow in them.
Field guides often provide little ecological information, or context, for understanding the plants they identify. This book, with its engaging text and attractive illustrations, for the first time provides an ecological framework for the plants and their environments in the coast and foothill regions of Southern California, an area that boasts an extremely rich flora. It will introduce a wide audience—from general readers and students to natural history and outdoor enthusiasts—to Southern California's plant communities, their ecological dynamics, and the key plants that grow in them.

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Published by: University of California Press on Dec 03, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/04/2011

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© by the Regents of the University of California.Not to be reproduced without publisher’s written permission.
 
Mediterranean-Climate Regions
California represents one ofonly 
ve small regions ofthe worldthat possess a mediterranean climate,which is characterized by mild,wet winters and dry summers.The other locations are incentral Chile,the Mediterranean Basin ofsouthern Europe andnorthern Africa,the Cape Region ofSouth Africa,and South-western and South Australia (map 1).These regions with thishighly unusual climate account for only a tiny portion oftheworld’s land area and occur only on the western margins of continental landmasses between about 30 and 40 degrees lati-tude.Subtropical high-pressure centers shield these areas fromsummer storms.Millennia ofevolution in the
ve mediter-ranean climate regions have produced a remarkable and glob-ally signi
cant degree ofdiversity among both plants and an-imals.All
ve regions are included in a select group of25regions around the world designated as key ecological hot spotsbecause ofthe size and uniqueness oftheir biota.The California
oristic province,representing one oftheseimportant ecological hot spots,is de
ned not only by a medi-terranean climate but also by unique plant relationships.Itcovers the great majority ofthe state,excluding only thesouthwestern desert regions and the Great Basin to the east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range (map 2).The region ex-tends beyond our state northward into the Klamath Moun-tains ofsouthwestern Oregon and southward into northwest-ern Baja California.
Southern California Region
Southern California as de
ned in this book begins at PointConception,where the shoreline curves south and eastward,and extends along the coast to the Mexican border.The SantaInez Mountains ofSanta Barbara County and the Transverse
2
BIOGEOGRAPHY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
 
Ranges,including the Tehachapi,San Gabriel,and San Ber-nardino Mountains,mark the northern boundary ofSouth-ern California (pl.1).The eastern regional boundary extendssouthward along the Peninsular Ranges,which include theSan Jacinto and Santa Ana Mountains in Riverside and Or-ange Counties and the Palomar,Cuyamaca,and LagunaMountains to the south in San Diego County.Excluded fromthe Southern California region are the central Coast Rangesand the San Joaquin Valley to the north,and the Mojave andSonoran Deserts that lie to the east in the rain shadow oftheTransverse and Peninsular Ranges.Southern California presents classic mediterranean-climateconditions.Rainfall is highly seasonal,peaking in winter andrarely occurring in summer.Periods ofsix months or morewithout rain are not at all unusual.Santa Barbara,near thenorthern coastal limit ofour region,receives a yearly average of 
BIOGEOGRAPHY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
3
Map 1. Mediterranean-climate regions of the world (map by Lisa Pompelli).
180°180°120°120°60°60° 60°60°30°30°60°60°30°30°0 5,000 10,000 KmCentral ChileCaliforniaCape ProvinceSouthwest AustraliaSouthAustralia TheMediterraneanScale at the Equator 

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