Growing our understanding of California’s plant communities
We don’t save individual plant species in isolation. Plants belong to communities, playing foundational roles in our ecosystems. Our understanding of those relationships are critical to both conservation and science. The CNPS Vegetation Program has established a vegetation classification system that has become the standard for interpreting statewide vegetation patterns and for initiating local and regional ecological assessments. Today, the program continues to expand this knowledge to inform conservation and land-use planning amidst today’s critical decisions. Read on to learn more.
Manual of California Vegetation (MCV)
The MCV is California’s definitive system for describing vegetation statewide. It uses a principal unit called an “Alliance” (or series), which is a floristically defined vegetation type identified by its dominant and/or characteristic species. Learn more about the MCV or access the current online edition here.
Areas of Service
Sensitive Natural Communities
CNPS is developing tools and training to identify and protect sensitive vegetation types as key units of biodiversity.
Veg Mapping & Monitoring
From grasslands to conifer forests, we’re working to quantifiably capture California’s plant communities and their changes over time.
Classification and mapping reports for rare plant communities and places, created in partnership with state, federal, and local partners.
We looked for rare plants, camped, hiked, went birdwatching, and found fire followers coming up in the French Fire burn area.
Regrowth and ResilienceWe’re finding an abundance of fire-following plants in previously mature forests and shrublands across the Central Coast.
What a Rush! Collecting Juncus digitatus in Nevada CountyNamed for its distinctive fruits, the rare finger rush grows in vernally moist microhabitats and stands only a few centimeters tall.