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Unformatted text preview: 1 Lecture 8: California Grasslands California grasslands or “prairie” I. BIOMES: California ’ s grasslands (sometimes also called prairies ) occur in a broad latitudinal belt from roughly southern Orange County to Pt. Arena/Mendocino, extending from the coast inland. • Mountain ranges interrupt the basic latitudinal distribution of grassland, with coastal-interior (or maritime-continental) position inFuencing their distribution as well. • Grasslands thus occur from the coast inland, replaced at higher elevations in the mountains by woody communities of shrublands (chaparral), woodlands (oak and mixed woodlands) and forest. • The most extensive grassland is in the Central Valley on the lee side (west of) the Coast Ranges. • If we look at the global biomes and the climates within California, many of our CA grasslands would be classi¡ed as Mediterranean, not temperate interior grasslands (as in the Great Plains). This is due to their Mediterranean, winter wet, summer dry climate, not a temperate climate that also receives both winter and summer precipitation. • California grasslands receive more precipitation than our deserts (typically 250 mm or 10 inches a year to 500 mm or 20 inches a year max.), but less than our chaparral, woodlands, and forests. • Our CA grasslands are really LOW ELEVATION habitats, which are drier than higher elevation habitats in general. GLOBAL BIOMES Biomes of North America Tundra Taiga Montane Forest Temperate Deciduous Forest Tropical Rainforest Grasslands and Savannas Deserts and Semideserts Mediterranean Scrub (includes Chaparral) http://fp.bio.utk.edu/botany120lect/Biomes/biomemap.htm Mediterranean type grasslands are found in areas that are too dry for forests, woodlands, and shrublands, but not as dry as deserts, both in coastal and interior locations (especially the Central Valley). Sac NWR Yellow-billed Magpie Valley Gartersnake 2 California grasslands thus have a very different biological composition (species, plant and animal communities) than interior, Great Plains grasslands . Although grasses (monocots) are often dominant, a high diversity of broad- leafed (forbs) flowering plants occur (dicots).leafed (forbs) flowering plants occur (dicots)....
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- Spring '09