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California Floristic Province Hotspot

The California Floristic Province hotspot extends from California to Mexico and covers an area of 293,804 sq km. It has an assortment of habitat types like sagebrush steppe, prickly pear shrubland, coastal sage scrub, chapparal, juniper-pine woodland, upper montane-subalpine and alpine forests, riparian forests, cypress forests and mixed evergreen forests. The region also has Douglas fir, sequoia and redwood forests, coastal dunes and salt marshes.

The hotspot has 3,488 plant, 157 mammal, 340 bird, 69 reptile, 46 amphibian and 73 freshwater fish species. Plant endemicity at 60.9% is very high and found here are the worlds largest trees-the endemic giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens).

Birds found here are the Guadalupe junco (Junco insularis) and the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Flagship mammal species of this hotspot are the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), island fox (Urocyon littorialis), Roosevelt's elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) and the tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes). Only four species of reptiles are endemic to this region and they include the Cedros Island diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus exsul) and the Cedros Island horned lizard (Phrynosoma cerroense).

The highest level of endemism for this hotspot is found among amphibian at 54.3%. Some of the endemics are the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) San Gabriel slender salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) and tree climbing salamanders that clamber up the tallest redwood trees. There are 28,000 species of invertebrates found in this hotspot of which nearly 32% are endemic.

Commercial agriculture, urbanisation, pollution, strip mining, colonisation by invasive alien species, road construction, livestock grazing and logging have led to a severe loss of habitat. About 108,715 sq km or 37% of the hotspot is under some form of protection. Conservation organisations actively involved in this region include the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy and the Wilderness Society. Two of the United States of America's oldest national parks, theYosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, are also located in the California Floristic Province.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

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