Nature & Science

Nature - Overview

No living thing exists by itself, each is a part of the community of living things. The lone pine tree on a hill is lone only in being apart from other pines. Below it, on the ground or in the soil, are a great variety of other organisms without whose presence the lone pine could not continue to grow. A pine forest is not just a group of trees of recognizable commercial value, but also an entire complex of atmosphere, climate, rocks, soil, water, plant species, both microscopic in size and larger, and animals ranging in size from protozoan to large mammals. Such a complex of living things, occupying a particular area, is known as a biotic community. Taken in combination with the interwoven non-living parts of the environment--soil, water, sunlight and air--it forms an ecological system or ecosystem.

In managing the National Forest under the Multiple Use - Sustained Yield Act of 1960, the United States Forest Service is cognizant of its responsibility to all forms of wildlife and the habitat they depend upon for their very existence. Of the many and varied types of plant communities and associations in the National Forest, there exists a place (or ecological niche) for many of the varied species of wildlife, large or small, aquatic or terrestrial, where the requirements for existence are met. The three most important basic elements, namely food, water, and cover, are generally found in these niches.

In turn, the "ecosystem" does provide the many values that man enjoys and seeks out, such as recreation, aesthetic, commercial, and scientific values.

Included here are check lists of the many and varied species that inhabit the Mendocino National Forest. Only the dominant plant species, which individually or collectively make up the various habitats for each of the Wildlife species are listed.

Herbs, which make up the under story of the coniferous, hardwood and chaparral associations are so numerous that it becomes impossible to list them all. Annual and perennial grasses and grass-like plants also have their place on the forest floor, grassy glades, or chaparral associations. To enumerate them here would be an endless task. Only those species of plants are listed which collectively dominate the overall aspect of the forest and which constitutes the food and cover for the various species of forest animals and birds. Plan a field outing with one or more of these checklists in hand and see how many items can be identified during your visit!