Your assignment this semester will be to identify, research, and visit an area in California and make observations concerning it’s current ecological community and evidence (or lack thereof) of current or former human activities in the area. The area of your choosing should be undeveloped (if the place is regularly mowed, I would consider the place developed). There are certainly places that are managed (reserves, national forest, and some state parks) to some degree that I would still consider undeveloped (if you have doubts about your location, ask me). Once you have identified a location you will need to do the following.
Human history: Research history of human occupancy in the area. Which native American tribes inhabited the area? Did they engage in ecosystem altering activities? What were they? Was the area farmed/ranched/logged? If so which species were cultivated/harvested? Are those species still present? Which entity currently manages the area? What are their goals/problems faced?
Ecological Community Past and Present: Research the natural history of the area. Which biome type best describes the area(see section 52.2 of your text, starting page 1168 in the hardback version)? Which plant species is/are the dominant plant types? Describe the plants and animals you are most likely to see in the area this time of year. Are these organisms present year round or do the migrate through the area? Which organisms once inhabited the area but no longer do? Why are they gone? Describe at least three species that are considered invasive in the area? What impact do these invasive species play in the area? How were these species introduced? Are there any flora or fauna considered threatened/endangered in the area? If so, by which agency? (CA, US, other?) If so, what is the recovery plan for the organism? Describe at least three plant species, two vertebrate species, and three invertebrate species you could expect to observe if you were to visit the area.
The Future: What are the prospects for the status of the area in the future? Are their interests (economic, conservation, private, government) that have plans for maintaining or taking over the area? What are the potential impacts of climate change on the area?
This completed assignment should include citations of the primary sources you used to compose this report and a full bibliography. You can organize the paper by the sections (1,2,3) listed above. The completed report should be ~1000-1500 words and concise yet thorough. Please upload your completed report as either a pdf or word document.
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