Plants in the Coastal Sage Scrub Community
The coastal sage scrub community is low laying shrub found at the coast of California extending to the northern areas of Baja. The plant community is typical of shrubs that have adaptations to cope with the Mediterranean climate of low-lying woodlands on the coast. Due to the softness of the deciduous leaves, coastal sage scrub is synonymous with soft chaparral. This is contrary to the predominantly hard leaves that characterize other chaparrals in the area.
According to Hogan, the shrubs grow at an altitude of 1500 feet. With the low-lying plants in southern California, the plant community has a sparse habitat. The plants shed their leaves during summer and replenish during winter as an adaptation to drought. The scrub is also home to numerous animal species that include coyotes, horned lizards, sage sparrows, and wild turkeys. In recent years, the biodiversity of the habitat has experienced occasional disruptions from wildfires. In particular, the fires that the area witnessed in 2003 burned over eighty thousand acres of the scrub. This revealed the importance of plants organisms in the scrub.
List of plants that dominate the coastal sage scrub:
- California sagebrush
- Lemonade Berry
- Coastal brittle brush
- Black sage
- Golden yellow
- California buckwheat
First, plants are important in the coastal sage scrub’s habitat in that they are able to establish ecological balance. Schoenherr asserts that the scrub plays host to numerous animal species located in the area in addition to providing birds with food. During summer, the plants release seeds, which serve as food to many bird species, including California Gnatcatcher and red-tailed hawks. The continued disruptions of the coastal sage scrub have led to the threat of extinction for some animals. Such birds as the Torrey pine and California Gnatcatcher have become endangered species as the scrub become prone to biodiversity disruptions. Artificial disruptions, including continued human activities in the coastal sage scrub, have contributed substantially to the contracting diversity within the area.