Where Education Meets the Land
– Motto of the Ecological Reserves
Species of the BCCER
Terrestrial habitats in the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve are extremely varied. Plant assemblages may change abruptly at the junction between two geologic substrates or at the edge of a past disturbance event such as fire or human clearing. More commonly, they grade slowly into one another as aspects of the microhabitat (slope, exposure, elevation, soil moisture, soil depth) change. In a particular transect, blue oaks in a savanna may gradually get denser until at some arbitrary point the habitat would be classified as a woodland, then a few interior live oaks will be mixed in, then more live oaks and a few canyon oaks. Gradually the canyon oaks will come to dominate, and other species (ponderosa pine, big-leaf maple, black oak, incense cedar) will be mixed in and the vegetation will be dense enough to be classified as forest. Because of these ubiquitous spatial gradients, a fine-scale vegetation map is impractical for making any reserve-wide decisions. Below the BCCER vegetation types are grouped into broad-spectrum categories with the caveat that each category represents an artificial segment of the total vegetation gradient. These categories are: grassland, wet meadow, riparian, valley oak savanna/woodland, blue oak savanna/woodland, mixed woodland/forest, chaparral, and chaparral/savanna.
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