Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Geog 316 journal - Disturbance at Steep Ravine
Jill and I spent last Friday night at the Steep Ravine cabins in Mt Tamalpais State Park. From the title you probably think this is about the mouse that ate all our hot chocolate but alas I'm going to ponder the coastal bluff scrub. So if you've been to Steep Ravine you know that the cabins are actually on an old alluvial deposit and to the north and south are steep cliffs. I noticed a lot of what I think is coastal bluff scrub (cbs) clinging to cliffsides and was wondering at what point of succession is this community.
It's apparent that there's a lot of mass wasting happening here and with that a clearing of the vegetation. So is cbs the expression of a primary successional phase? If so this is complicated by the fact that cbs is fairly limited in California - likely an endemic. So is this physical barrier of cliffside erosion contributing to the endemism of cbs? And what if the coastal erosion stopped, would cbs be succeeded by something else? Or is cbs the climax community? Overall I think the Gleason model is probably more appropriate for this community.
Just a quick note about invasive, on a fresh slide just to the north the pampas grass was doing a great job at getting established. It would easy to imagine the cbs being overtaken by this plant in the not so distant future.
Posted by Matt Merrifield at 8:59 PM