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Introduction to the Plant Life of Southern California

Coast to Foothills

Philip Rundel (Author), Robert J. Gustafson (Illustrator)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 316 pages
ISBN: 9780520241992
April 2005
$26.95, £21.95
Field guides often provide little ecological information, or context, for understanding the plants they identify. This book, with its engaging text and attractive illustrations, for the first time provides an ecological framework for the plants and their environments in the coast and foothill regions of Southern California, an area that boasts an extremely rich flora. It will introduce a wide audience—from general readers and students to natural history and outdoor enthusiasts—to Southern California's plant communities, their ecological dynamics, and the key plants that grow in them.

Coastal beach and dune habitats, coastal and interior sage scrub, chaparral, woodlands, grasslands, riparian woodlands, and wetlands all contribute unique plant assemblages to Southern California. In addition to discussing each of these areas in depth, this book also emphasizes ecological factors such as drought, seasonal temperatures, and fire that determine which plants can thrive in each community. It covers such important topics as non-native invasive plants and other issues involved with preserving biodiversity in the ecologically rich yet heavily populated and increasingly threatened area. * 327 color photographs provide overviews of each plant community and highlight key plant species

* Describes more than 300 plant species

* Covers the counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, western Riverside, San Bernardino, and the Channel Islands

* Includes a list of public areas and parks for viewing Southern California's plant communities
1. Biogeography of Southern California
2. Coastal Habitats: Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Terraces
3. Coastal and Interior Sage Scrub
4. Chaparral
5. Chaparral and Fire
6. Woodlands
7. Grasslands
8. Riparian Woodlands
9. Wetlands
10. Channel Islands
11. Invasive Species
12. Preserving Biodiversity

Where to Experience Southern California Plant Communities
References and Further Reading
Additional Captions
About the Authors
Philip W. Rundel, Professor of Biology at the University of California at Los Angeles, is coauthor of Ecological Communities and Processes in the Mojave Desert Ecosystem (1996), among other books. He has written extensively on the ecology of Southern California. Robert Gustafson is the retired collections manager of the Botany Department at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His photographs illustrate Plants and Flowers of Hawaii (1987).
“Presents in-depth discussions of habitats and ecological processes that put plant diversity in meaningful context. . . . This habitat-oriented approach helps the reader to understand how individual plant species fit into the complex web of life.”—HMH California Coast & Ocean

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