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Significant natural areasAuthor(s): C. I. Millar; M. G. Barbour; D. L. Elliott-Fisk; J. R. Shevock; W. B. Woolfenden
Source: Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, Final report to Congress, Volume II, Assessments and Scientific Basis for Management Options, Centers for water and Wildland Resources, Report No. 37, University of California, Davis, California
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionThe Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project mapped 945 areas in the Sierra Nevada of ecological, cultural, and geological significance. Theseareas contain outstanding features of unusual rarity, diversity, andrepresentativeness on national forest and national park lands. Morethan 70% of the areas were newly recognized during the SNEP project. Local agency specialists familiar with local areas mapped553 ecological areas (average size 1,359 ha [3,349 acres]), 198 culturalareas (average size 2,371 ha [5,804 acres]), and 194 geologicalareas (average size 3,822 ha [9,443 acres]) during workshopsheld throughout the Sierra Nevada. Ecological and cultural areas areconcentrated primarily in the southern Sierra, especially in the nationalparks, and secondarily in the northern and eastern Sierra.Geological areas concentrate somewhat at high elevations and alongriver corridors. Although more than a third of these areas are in “protected”designations (wilderness, natural reserves, parks, etc.), morethan half were recorded as having had past impacts to biodiversity values from recreation and other intensive human uses. Forty percenthave had impacts from grazing. The areas with these impactsare scattered through the Sierra Nevada. Both of these activities arepermitted in many significant areas within “protected” designations,which suggests that land designation per se may not adequatelymaintain the biodiversity values for which these areas are recognized.Timber harvest and associated impacts were noted on about a quarterof the areas, concentrated in a few primarily west-side forests.Mining and pollution were minor and local impacts to a small percentageof sites. Collectively these areas represent a network of sitesidentified for superlative values across the Sierra Nevada. Site-specificevaluation and coordinated management with adjacent and matrixlands at the landscape level would most likely promote the greatestmaintenance of biodiversity values over the range
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CitationMillar, C. I., Barbour, M. G., Elliott-Fisk, D. L., Shevock, J. R., and Woolfenden, W. B. 1996. Significant natural areas. Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, Final report to Congress, Volume II, Assessments and Scientific Basis for Management Options, Centers for water and Wildland Resources, Report No. 37, University of California, Davis, California
KeywordsSierra Nevada, biodiversity
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