Dramatic climate differences, geology, and soils across California create dramatic differences in vegetation types throughout the state. Coast Redwood forest is the dominate vegetation type in the cool wet climate of the far northwestern corner of the State, sagebrush and juniper to the east, chaparral and blue oak woodlands in the central part of the state, and Joshua Tree woodland and creosote bush scrubland is the dominate vegetation type in hot and very dry southern California.
In central California, north-south slope wildflower differences on Monocline Ridge in the Monvero Dunes ACEC are being studied by the BLM as a model for the potential effects of changing climate on plant communities of the San Joaquin Desert. Patches of Mojave Desert wildflowers, such as Mojave sand verbena, desert candle, and desert lantern are found on the hotter and drier south slopes, while typical San Joaquin Desert wildflowers, such as common monolopia and common phacelia are found on the cooler and moister north slopes. Sand dunes on the tops of the hills have other Mojave Desert plants like sandgrass and wild rhubarb.
Wetlands, vernal pools and lush riparian systems are scattered throughout BLM California. Approximately one-quarter of the plants in California are endemic; meaning they don’t occur anywhere else in the world.
BLM in California manages 227 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), several Research Natural Areas, and 13 Level III Ecoregions:
Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains
Southern California/Northern Baja Coast
Central Basin and Range
Central California Valley
Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills
Klamath Mountains/California High North Coast Range
Mojave Basin and Range
Northern Basin and Range
Sierra Nevada, Sonoran Basin and Range
Southern California Mountains
There are 398 Special Status Plants that are known to occur on BLM lands in California, 46 are federally listed.
Patches of Mojave Desert wildflowers on south slopes (hotter, drier) of Monocline Ridge (western Fresno County) in the San Joaquin Desert on BLM land administered by the Central Coast Field Office. Mojave sand verbena (pink), desert candle (yellow stalks with maroon tips), and desert lantern (white), Compare to a photo of the north slopes (cooler, moister) on the same hill which has typical San Joaquin Desert wildflowers – common monolopia (yellow) and common phacelia (light blue). Sand dunes on the tops of the hills have other Mojave Desert plants like sandgrass and wild rhubarb. The north-south slope wildflower differences of Monocline Ridge are being studied by the BLM as a model for the potential effects of changing climate on plant communities of the San Joaquin Desert.
The great differences in climate across California are the reason why Coast Redwood forest is the dominant vegetation type in the far northwestern corner of California in the cool and very wet Arcata Field Office and why Joshua Tree woodland and creosote bush scrubland are the dominant vegetation types of the hot and very dry California Desert District.