• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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Fire Ecology - Vegetation Types: Coastal Dune

Native dune habitat in California is rare and is threatened both by development and by non-native species. The majority of dune habitat at Point Reyes is dominated by non-native species including European beachgrass. Approximately 2,000 acres of the Seashore is coastal dune habitat (see Vegetation Map).
Native coastal dune vegetation at Abbott's Lagoon

Native coastal dune vegetation at Abbott's Lagoon

Native dune habitat is comprised primarily of dune sagebrush (Artemisia pycnocephala), coast buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium), dune lupine (Lupinus chamissonis), or goldenbush (Ericameria ericoides). Non-native dunes are dominated by European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) and iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis).

Total vegetation cover in coastal dune ecosystems is often low and interspersed with bare sand. Although there may be thatch buildups in European beachgrass, these communities are generally not very flammable.

More information on the Coastal Dunes Plant Community.

Text adapted from the Point Reyes National Seashore's Draft Wildland Fire Resource Advisor Guide (2,436 KB PDF).

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Did You Know?

Harbor Seal Pup, © Sue Van Der Wal

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are present in the waters of Point Reyes year round. Every spring, approximately 7,000 harbor seals, or 20% of the mainland California breeding population, haul out on the beaches of Point Reyes. Look for them in the esteros and in Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon. More...