A manual of California vegetation
John O. Sawyer, Jr.
Professor of Botany
Humboldt State University

Todd Keeler-Wolf
Vegetation Ecologist
Natural Heritage Division California
Department of Fish and Game

Table of contents


What is vegetation?

The CNPS approach to classification

Conservation and management in the present and future

The history of vegetation classification in California

How to use this book

How to use the keys

Format of vegetation type descriptions

Geography of California

Series dominated by herbaceous plants

Series dominated by shrubs

Series dominated by trees

Unique stands


Vernal pools

Literature cited


This manual has benefited from the assistance and advice from many people. Their knowledge of vegetation, philosophical views of classification, and hard mental and physical labor on this project has made this book is better than it would have been without them. No one person knows enough about California vegetation to write a book of this nature by themselves. We have relied upon many people for contributions of data, review of drafts, and distribution of the drafts. We would like to thank them individually:

Annette Albert, Sarah Allen, Barbara Allen-Diaz, Michael Barbour, Ed Biery, Bruce Bingham, Roxanne Bittman, Mignonne Bivin, Mark Borchert, David Bramlet, Dan Cheatham, David Chipping, Jane Cole, Charles Convis, Max Creasy, Ellen Cypher, Bruce Delgado, Wayne Ferren, JoAnn Fites, Chris Gillespie, Claire Tipple Golec, Hazel Gordon, Jim Griffin, Robert Haller, Steve Hartman, Duane Haselfeld, Sylvia Haultain, Deborah Hillyard, Ken Himes, Julie Horenstein, Marc Hoshovsky, John Hunter, Tom Jimerson, Jim Jokerst, Michelle Kanoart, Jon Keeley, Melody Lardner, Lori Lawrentz, Kari Lewis, Sally Manning, Corky Matthews, Richard Minnich, Marlyce Myers, Tom Oberbauer, Dennis Odion, Bruce Orr, Oren Pollak, Don Potter, Robert Preston, Cynthia Roye, Connie Rutherford, Andy Sanders, Jim Shevock, Jim Smith, Sydney Smith, Janine Stenback, Joan Stewart, Neil Sugihara, Kathy Thomas, Kenneth Turner, Felicity Wasser, Scott White, Roy Woodward, Paul Zedler.

Special appreciation goes to Michael Barbour, Bruce Bingham, Mark Borchert, Hazel Gordon, Joan Stewart, and Scott White for detailed reviews of various drafts and to Jim Shevock for reviews, production, and layout assistance.

The Plant Communities Committee


Michael Barbour, University of California, Davis


Sarah Allen, US National Park Service
Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Bingham, US Forest Service
Mark Borchert, US Forest Service
Dan Cheatham, CNPS
David Chipping, CNPS
Charles Convis, Environmental Systems Research Institute
Bruce Delgado, US Bureau of Land Management
Wayne Ferren, University of California, Santa Barbara
Chris Gillespie, US Department of Defense
David Graber, US National Biological Service
Steve Hartman, CNPS
Sylvia Haultain, University of California, Davis
Deborah Hillyard, California Department of Fish and Game
Mark Hoshovsky, California Department of Fish and Game
John Hunter, University of California, Davis
Jim Jokerst, Jones and Stokes
Todd Keeler-Wolf, California Department of Fish and Game
Corky Matthews, CNPS
Bruce Orr, EA Engineering, Science, and Technology
Oren Pollak, The Nature Conservancy
J. Robert Haller, University of California, Santa Barbara
Cynthia Roye, California Department of Parks and Recreation
Connie Rutherford, US Fish and Wildlife Service
John Sawyer, Humboldt State University
Jim Shevock, CNPS
Janine Stenback, California Department of Forestry
Joan Stewart, CNPS
Scott White, Tierra Madre Consultants
Roy Woodward, Bechtel Corporation

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© CNPS 1997