Current and Historical Distribution of Vegetation Communities at Paramount Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Student(s): Ross Bernet, Morgan Fahlman, Kevin Kawakami, Charles Le, Jessica Savio, and Karly Wagner
Client: National Parks Service
Advisor: Travis Brooks
Vegetation boundaries change naturally over time, but native vegetation communities are especially at risk following the introduction of exotic species and changes in land use patterns from human urbanization. This study is aimed at understanding the historical trends in the distribution of native and non-native vegetation communities in the Santa Monica Mountains, including Coastal Sage Scrub (CSS), native perennial grassland, non-native annual grassland, oak woodland and riparian, within the protected area of Paramount Ranch. By using two approaches – historical photo analysis and vegetation mapping – we assessed which communities have undergone an increase, decrease, or remained stable in their area coverage through the past few decades. We observed that the vegetation has largely remained stable overall, with the exception of a few areas. Additionally, the study added detail to previous vegetation map efforts by providing further classification of the grassland areas into native and non-native communities.