Mapping and monitoring delicate habitat
Vegetation types (or plant communities) provide key ecosystem services by maintaining water cycles, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and providing habitat for rare plant and animal species. Given this, the degradation of rare plant communities can disrupt the integrity of the ecological functions of our natural environments, leading to the loss of sensitive plant and animal species and a corresponding decrease in biodiversity.
the degradation of rare plant communities can disrupt the integrity of the ecological functions of our natural environments
The inherent values of vegetation have lead scientists and conservationists to make use of vegetation patterns as a surrogate for ecosystems. Through its rare plant communities initiative, CNPS uses a multi-step process to identify, inventory, map, and track rare communities throughout the state. The main objectives are to:
- Utilize and expand existing methods to identify, sample, and map rare communities
- Identify new processes to document and protect rare communities
- Identify funding for future work in key regions and habitats of the state (e.g., Central Coast and maritime chaparral vegetation, riparian and wetland vegetation)
- Train/assist local CNPS and other partners on using our existing and new processes
- Analyze existing and new data to better describe rare vegetation
- Update rarity ranks of rare, threatened, and endangered vegetation
- Provide useful descriptions and maps of rare vegetation with other agencies
- Develop conservation measures and strategies
Find out more about the RPC Initiative by reading our Position Statement.