Habitats are typically described by the plant community, but they really define an ecosystem. They are interchangeable, but a habitat is more specific and an ecosystem more general. California has the greatest diversity of habitats than any other place in the world. In conservation work the number one threat to species decline is loss of habitat, so it starts with habitats. Without habitat species go extinct. Let us explore these habitats further, so when we are looking at our case studies we know what we are talking about.
Visit the California Fish and Wildlife website and locate the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System part of the website (https://wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CWHR/Wildlife-Habitats). Then answer the following questions:
1) What is the CWHR system?
2) How many habitats are described in California?
3) What are the 6 main categories? What is the most dominant category?
4) Make a list of your favorite two habitats of the 5 MAIN (excluding non-vegetation) CATEGORY (Total of 10).
5) In 2002, marine and estuarine habitat classifications were created. Go to the website you stared at and scroll down to the Marine PDF. What is your favorite one?
6) Go to the bottom of the CWHR system page and research ONE of the following habitat classifications by clicking on the PDF link (text account): Saline Emergent Wetland, Perennial Grassland, Annual Grassland, Valley Foothill Riparian, Valley Oak Woodland, Coastal Scrub, Redwood, Coastal Oak Woodland, Sierran Mixed Conifer, and Joshua Tree.
7) For that one habitat type research the following: bioregion found in, climate type, any geological features, plant specialties, animal specialties, and any environmental issues.