The San Francisco Bay Area lies within an impressive hotspot for plant biodiversity: the California Floristic Province. This hotspot supports over 5,550 native plant species, about 40% of which are endemic - found nowhere else in the world. Over the years, the Bay Area has undergone many changes including alterations in fire regimes following the widespread introduction of agriculture, modification of water flows, and changing temperature regimes. Such alterations may influence the region's biodiversity as plant communities respond and adapt.
To better understand this adaptation, the SFAN I&M program seeks to track long-term changes in a suite of vegetation communities in its parks. These communities include coastal prairies at Point Reyes National Seashore, redwood forests at Muir Woods National Monument, mixed chaparral at Pinnacles National Park, and coastal scrub at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, among others. Within these communities, the NPS would like to answer questions such as: is the number of species present in a community changing over time? Which plant species are moving into a community and which are no longer present? How is the ratio of native to non-native plants changing within the community? Are the types of plant communities shifting (e.g., grassland to shrubland)? Answering questions such as these will help us understand modern trends in SFAN plant communities for more informed protection of our exceptional floristic diversity.