Plant Community Monitoring

sand dunes and low shrubs, some with yellow flowers, with a lagoon in the background
Coastal dune scrub at Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

NPS / Eric Wrubel

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.

Seasonal Updates and Blogs

  • A National Park Service plant biologist and intern record data during an invasive plant survey
    Botany Newsletter

    Check out what the invasive plant monitoring and plant community monitoring teams have been up to.

  • Bright red flowers among the branches of charred shrubs.
    Plant Communities Blog

    Get the latest on plant communities from the Bay Area Nature & Science blog.

Monitoring Documents

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1897. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1898. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1835. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

For More Information

Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center - Plants
Sedges of Marin - digital key to sedges of Marin County, CA
Bay Area Science and Nature Blog


Kelsey Songer

Quick Reads

Loading results...

    Last updated: April 11, 2023