We’re in a race against time to protect California’s biodiversity
The state of California is a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot with over 6,500 native taxa, a third of which are found nowhere else. Its rapidly growing population, severe housing shortage, increased demand for resources, and changing climate have led to regional planning assessments to streamline the ability to meet such pressing and complex demands.
To ensure that plants and their habitats are adequately represented and protected in such assessments, tools are needed to identify the most important areas to target conservation activities. CNPS is working region by region to build the state’s first comprehensive map of the plant places we most need to save and why. Collaborating with a network of science and land-use experts, CNPS has developed an Important Plant Area Model that can guide regional planners as they balance necessary development with plant conservation. Well-informed decisions allow us to address societal needs like energy production and affordable housing with the need to conserve biodiversity.
What constitutes an Important Plant Area
California’s Important Plant Areas (IPAs) are crucial to the conservation of the state’s botanical heritage. CNPS is not stating that areas that do not fit our criteria are not important, but through a rigorous data collection and modeling effort, we have determined IPAs to be particularly important for biodiversity conservation. Some of the general criteria that may define an IPA are: The presence of rare plant species, rare vegetation types, ethnobotanically/culturally important plant areas, areas with high levels of native plant species richness, large intact natural areas, areas of high biomass/carbon sinks, and/or areas of high habitat suitability for rare plant species. Each region varies drastically in physical and biological diversity, and our composite statewide map takes into account regional variance.
Important Plant Areas: California Central Valley Pilot Model Presentation
This presentation documents preliminary results from the CNPS Important Plant Areas Model for the California Central Valley. Modeling was conducted following a 2017 expert workshop in Bakersfield, CA. Iterations are based on feedback from internal CNPS review and feedback from the Technical Advisory Committee.These are preliminary results and will be reviewed by data contributors later this year during a demonstrative webinar (to be scheduled). The model will be reiterated and results updated based on feedback received. If you would like to learn more about the IPA model or are interested in reviewing IPA model results please contact Sam Young, Important Plant Areas Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Biodiversity Highlights
The Berryessa Snow Mountain Expansion Act, House Resolution 6366, is a bill that sets the stage for the conservation and long-term management of Walker Ridge.
In 2021, CNPS staff, volunteers, and students spent six weeks conducting vegetation assessments in five state parks post-fire.
An international mining company wants re-open a restored road and plans to begin exploratory drilling in Conglomerate Mesa. Hear from a scientist studying the region's flora.