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Coastal sage scrub series of western Riverside County, California

Coastal sage scrub series of western Riverside County, California

Madrono 44(1): 95-105, Jan -March

The widely used term "Riversidian sage scrub" distinguishes coastal sage scrub in interior cismontane southern California from stands elsewhere but does not account for the considerable variation among stands within the region. Coastal sage scrub classification has generally emphasized either regional or floristic variation. We collected data at 181 coastal sage scrub sites in western Riverside County and classified them using multivariate cluster analyses of structural and floristic variables of shrub canopies. Roughly half of the sites fell into seven coastal sage scrub "series," largely comparable to the six interior basin "associations" described by Kirkpatrick and Hutchinson (1977). Our analysis splits Kirkpatrick and Hutchinson's Artemisia californica-Eriogonum fasciculatum-Salvia apiana association into three series; we did not sample their Lepidospartum squamatum-Eriodictyon crassifolium-Yucca whipplei association; and we recognize a deerweed series not sampled in their work. Similarities to the earlier analysis indicate that classification of this vegetation is largely repeatable, while discrepancies result from differing methodology and interpretation. The large proportion of unclassified plots suggests that these series represent segments of continua rather than discrete communities. We encourage land use planners to recognize variation among coastal sage scrub series within geographic regions to assure adequate conservation planning.

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Accession: 008338315

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DOI: 10.2307/41425182

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