How does a relatively small park like Whiskeytown become home to so many different species? The biotic communities found in Whiskeytown were shaped by many environmental factors interacting throughout time. Whiskeytown is a geological crossroads where several of northern California’s physiographic regions merge. Elements of the Klamath Mountains, Cascade and Coast Mountain Ranges, and the Sacramento Valley come together here to create a variety of habitats.
Rugged topography, numerous soil types, variable weather, and periodic disturbances have influenced the formation of Whiskeytown’s biotic communities and the diversity of species in them. In particular, episodic disturbances, both natural and human-caused, can have rapid and profound affects on biotic communities. Disturbances upset conditions, reshuffling species distributions and abundances, and often reorganizing entire ecosystems. Fire, non-native species invasions, and disturbed lands from historic logging and mining activities all affect the park’s current biodiversity.
Did You Know?
Whiskeytown has phantom orchids (Cephalanthera austiniae)? They are all white and devoid chlorophyll. This means that it cannot make energy for itself and must rely on symbiotic mycorrhizae for its nutrition.