By Ted Trzyna

© 2001 IUCN

Note: This invited article was published in Vol. 11, No. 3 (2001) of Parks: The International Journal for Protected Area Managers, published by the World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The printed version of the article differs slightly from this one, mainly in using British rather than American style. The full text of the Parks issue is posted on the IUCN Web site,

IUCN defines a protected area as "an area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means."


In the U.S. state of California, progress is being made in protecting natural areas in and around cities in spite of relentless urban sprawl. Although a confusing number of agencies are involved, partnerships are common. Nongovernmental organizations have a pivotal role. Examples are provided from the two major cities of the state, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Almost all protected areas are managed for a range of benefits. Biodiversity is a primary goal, along with recreation, education, and in many places watershed protection. Economic benefits are varied and substantial. Management issues include administrative and physical fragmentation, invasive species, fire, and pollution. Agencies recognize a need to reach out to urban residents, but performance is mixed. A new "natural park" in a poor Los Angeles neighborhood is a striking innovation. California has much to learn from other countries, and much to share.

Context: A land of diversity and extremes

California’s natural treasures and energetic society come together in many interesting ways in and around its two great metropolitan areas. 

Los Angeles, with 15.8 million people, is the sixth most populous urban agglomeration in the world and the second largest in the United States, after New York. 

The San Francisco Bay Area, 650 kilometers to the northwest, has a population of 6.9 million, ranking fourth in the country, after Chicago. 

Both cities lie on the Pacific Ocean and have a Mediterranean-type climate of mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers that is found elsewhere only in parts of Australia, Chile, South Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin itself.

California is a land of diversity and extremes. In an area of 411,000 square kilometers, about the size of Sweden or Zimbabwe, there are alpine peaks, deserts, temperate rain forests, vast agricultural valleys, and a 1,600-kilometer coastline.

Diversity is also an apt description of California’s society. No ethnic group has a majority. Just under half of California’s residents are of European origin and a third of Latin American origin, with the rest of African, Asian-Pacific, Native American, or mixed heritage.

The central fact for both society and environment is population growth unprecedented in world history: the number of people in California rose from 1.5 million in 1900 to 34 million in 2000 and is projected to increase to 50 million by 2025. Much of this growth comes from migration from other U.S. states (about 32 percent) or other countries (22 percent).

Population growth, combined with an attachment to a spread-out, car-centered lifestyle, has led to urban sprawl unimaginable even a few years ago. Natural communities have suffered, but in uneven and often unpredictable ways.

Protected areas: A strong legacy, a patchwork of jurisdictions

California has long been a leader in conservation and large parts of its territory have protected status. However, it has a confusing array of protected-area jurisdictions and categories because several levels of government are involved, and separate purposes have led to separate systems at each level.

National and state agencies

Traditionally, the national and state park systems have had central roles in protecting natural areas in California. The first national parks in California were created in 1890, including Yosemite (308,273 ha, a World Heritage Site) and Sequoia (163,115 ha). The National Park Service now has 16 natural units in California covering about 8 percent of the territory. Of this, fully 79 percent is in wilderness, defined in law as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man."

California’s state park system began in 1901 and has developed parallel to the national one. Unlike national parks, usually created on land already owned by the national government, most state parkland has to be bought from private landowners. Nevertheless, the system has grown steadily. The agency responsible is the California Department of Parks and Recreation, which has over 200 natural units covering 1.3 percent of the state’s territory. A strategic plan adopted in 2000 asserts that the state park system "will become more relevant" to major population centers.

When state policy-makers decided in the 1970s that more flexible tools were needed for nature protection, such as easements and alliances with nongovernmental organizations, the department was seen as too conservative to adapt to new roles. As a result, several regional conservancies have been established within state government for this purpose. Still, the state park system has the most diverse habitats of any protected-area system in California.

Numerous other public protected-area programs are administered by agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the University of California.

Certain kinds of regulatory regimes can result in de facto protected areas. Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) under the national Endangered Species Act allow habitats to be destroyed in one location in return for conservation commitments elsewhere; they are supervised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A similar state-level process, Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) is administered by the California Department of Fish and Game.

Some local governments have natural units in their park systems. There are no general-purpose regional authorities in these two metropolitan areas; each of them is divided into several counties and over 100 municipalities.

This description of agencies and management categories is greatly simplified. For example, a recent report identified 18 different classifications for marine managed areas at the state government level alone. Virtually all these agencies, categories, and programs, and others not mentioned, are represented in California’s two major metropolitan areas, often combined in creative ways.

Citizen actors

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have led in creating and defending these publicly owned protected areas since the founding of the Sierra Club in San Francisco in 1892. While the club is still California’s preeminent conservation group, numerous other groups work on protected-area issues, often focusing on certain places, habitat types, species, or tools such as science or law.

A newer type of NGO acquires land or easements and either manages the land or conveys it to a public agency. The leading such groups are The Nature Conservancy, which has over 100 projects and preserves in California, and the Trust for Public Land, which specializes in financing, but there are also some 130 local or special-purpose land trusts (the Land Trust Alliance acts as a clearinghouse).

Opinion polls consistently show stronger support for environmental protection in California than in the U.S. as a whole. In 2000, a measure to authorize $2.1 billion in bonds for state and local parks passed with 63 percent of the vote in a state referendum; it was the largest state bond measure for any purpose in U.S. history.

Los Angeles area

Metropolitan Los Angeles stretches 200 km along the ocean and up to 100 km inland. It is framed by protected areas: state beaches on one side and mountainous national forests on the other.

Natural communities range from strand and salt marsh bordering the ocean to scrub and oak woodland in valleys and foothills. Most of the lower mountains are covered by chaparral, a dense growth of various species of evergreen, hard-leaved shrubs. Higher up are montane and subalpine forests. Riparian woodlands stand out in this semi-arid region and have their own distinctive flora and fauna.

The following examples illustrate the variety and complexity of managing protected areas in the Los Angeles area:

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Billed as "the world’s largest urban national park" at 61,000 ha, the Santa Monica Mountains NRA protects natural and cultural landscapes in a mountain range that runs right through the city of Los Angeles. It includes expensive residential areas, as well as ranches and relatively wild tracts rising to 950 meters that are home for deer and mountain lions as well as 25 threatened or endangered animal and plant species.

Within a framework administered by the National Park Service, the NRA is a cooperative effort. The largest landowner is the state park system, followed by NPS and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Local agencies, NGOs, and private landowners are also involved, and when planned acquisitions are completed, some 20,000 ha will still be in private hands.

The Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy is an unusual state agency set up in 1979 and given special acquisition powers out of concern that the national government was acting too slowly to acquire private lands for the NRA in a fast-rising real estate market. It has become highly skilled and pro-active at acquiring land and making it accessible by combining funding from different sources and forming partnerships with other agencies and NGOs. Having accomplished much that it set out to do in its core area, the conservancy has started working elsewhere in the region. Although much of its political support comes from wealthy residents of the mountains, it now has projects in some of the poorest areas of the city; one of these is described below.

San Gabriel Mountains

Towering over the northern edge of the Los Angeles area, the San Gabriel Mountains are almost entirely within the 262,000-ha Angeles National Forest, established in 1892 and administered by the U.S. Forest Service. An extremely rugged range rising to over 3,000 m, its lower slopes are covered with chaparral; higher elevations have mixed conifer forest.

Since the Angeles National Forest was established in 1892, its main purpose has been protecting watershed for water supply and flood control. While lower elevations of these mountains receive as little as 12 cm of precipitation in some years, storm cells coming off the ocean have been known to drop as much as 66 cm of rain on them in 24 hours (McPhee 1989). U.S. national forests generally are multiple-use areas, but almost all the Angeles National Forest is managed as a natural area and because of its ruggedness has a relatively high degree of ecological integrity for an area adjacent to a large city (Stephenson and Calcarone 1999).

Within the Angeles National Forest are wilderness areas totaling 32,500 ha and several strictly protected areas, including the 6,900-ha San Dimas Experimental Forest, a biosphere reserve managed for research and generally closed to the public; within it is the 555-ha Fern Canyon Research Natural Area, a prime example of oak woodland held as a control for studies on erosion, fire, and air quality.

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

This reserve on the far eastern edge of the metropolitan area illustrates how public agencies and NGOs often work together to create and manage protected areas in California. It covers 3,400 ha of grasslands, oak woodlands, tablelands, and narrow canyons. While the reserve has some 40,000 visitors each year, its main purpose is preserving exceptional natural communities that include 49 endangered, threatened, or rare animal and plant species. Of special importance are vernal pools, small seasonal ponds that dot California’s grasslands and are found almost nowhere else in the world. In the rainy season, they attract many kinds of waterfowl. In the spring, they are surrounded by concentric rings of wildflowers that appear as the water gradually evaporates.

The Nature Conservancy of California, a major NGO, started purchasing land for the reserve in 1984. Even though it is 85 kilometers from the center of Los Angeles, the surrounding area is fast becoming suburbanized. The reserve more than doubled in size a few years later with funds from several state and local agencies. The result is a cooperative arrangement in which the participants retain ownership of their parcels of land but the reserve is treated as a biological unit for which responsibility is shared. To keep the reserve from becoming a biological island, TNC and others are working to protect a corridor between it and a nearby national forest (TNC 2001, Backstrand and Lathrop 1993).

March Air Force Base

This military installation 40 kilometers north of the Santa Rosa Reserve protects a number of endangered species and natural communities. These include vernal pools, some of which even form between the runways, and a 400-hectare preserve set up to protect the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephansi). Although the base is scheduled for conversion to civilian use, sensitive habitats will continue to be protected.

San Francisco Bay Area

The urbanized region around San Francisco extends in an irregular pattern over an area measuring 200 by 125 kilometers. The range of natural communities is similar to that in the Los Angeles area, but without high mountain ecosystems. In addition, there are remnants of north coastal forest.

The following examples illustrate different approaches to protected areas in the Bay Area:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

This 30,500-ha unit of the National Park Service was created starting in 1972 from surplus lands owned by the national government. The result of a citizen’s movement, it was later expanded through land purchases. GGNRA consists of urban greenspace, nearby rural lands, and historic monuments. Relatively small parts of it are in a natural state; these include an old-growth forest of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and coastal ecosystems. However, GGNRA is the keystone of a much larger interconnected complex of protected areas. Because of a mandate to work closely with NGOs and local communities, its managers have had to develop a more participatory style of management than is generally the case in the U.S. National Park Service.

East Bay Regional Park District

While GGNRA tends to get more publicity, this homegrown effort is of at least equal interest, particularly from the standpoint of protecting natural communities. Established in 1933, East Bay Regional Parks is an autonomous agency governed by a board elected by citizens of two of the region’s nine counties. It has 56 units covering 36,500 ha.

Along with recreation and education, protection of biodiversity is a primary objective, unusual for a local park system. Over 80 percent of Regional Parks’ lands are managed as natural parklands. They protect a number of highly endemic species such as the threatened Alameda whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), found only within the district; and the endangered pallid manzanita (Arctostaphylos pallida), which grows only within the district’s 95-ha Huckleberry Botanic Preserve.

San Francisco Bay

"Never was a metropolis more dominated by any natural feature than San Francisco by its bay," writes Harold Gilliam (1969) in his history of bay politics. But by 1960 the largest estuary along the Pacific Coast of the Americas was seriously threatened. Diking and filling had reduced it from an original 176,100 ha to 111,400 ha; over 90 percent of its tidal wetlands had been destroyed; garbage and sewage polluted its waters.

In 1965, a movement spearheaded by the Save San Francisco Bay Association led the state government to create a powerful regulatory body, the 27-member San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, to plan and regulate the bay and its shoreline as a unit. This was one of the first major steps taken anywhere to protect coastal resources on a large and complex scale. The commission’s plan allocates zones for transportation and industrial uses along the 1,600-km shoreline, but aims above all to "protect the bay as a great natural resource." While several public agencies and NGOs maintain protected areas along its shores, the major part of the bay system is a de facto protected area under a regulatory regime involving the commission and several other agencies.

San Bruno Mountain

Rising 400 m above the bay, this ridge immediately south of the San Francisco city boundary has attracted attention from the state and national governments because it is home for three endangered butterflies and several endangered plant species found only at this location. San Bruno Mountain has been threatened since the 1960s, first by a plan to remove its top to expand the San Francisco airport into the bay, and then by a proposal to cover it with residences and office buildings. Its higher elevations are now protected in a 918-ha park operated jointly by the county and state park systems. The lower elevations are privately owned. The entire mountain is subject to a Habitat Conservation Plan adopted in 1983 under the national Endangered Species Act.

Benefits of California’s urban protected areas

Regardless of their original purposes, almost all of the protected areas in these two urban regions are now managed to provide a range of benefits. Four of these, outdoor recreation, nature education, scientific research, and aesthetics, need little elaboration. Watershed protection is a critical benefit of mountain protected areas. Collecting firewood, hunting, and gathering food (mushrooms and ferns, for example) are permitted in some areas.

Three other important benefits of urban protected areas in California deserve more explanation: preserving biodiversity; economic benefits; and intangible values.


Preserving biodiversity is increasingly seen as a primary goal of protected areas by policy-makers, managers, and the informed public. California is one of the most species-rich areas of the world: one commonly used list, Norman Myer’s "hotspots" of endemism, ranks it twelfth (WCMC 1992).

Of the 6,300 taxa of flowering plants native to California, 36 percent are endemics (found nowhere else). Most of these are rare or uncommon; many are restricted to very small areas. About 40 plant taxa are thought to have become extinct over the last century (CNPS 1994). Some 15 mammals, 15 reptiles, 16 amphibians, and many invertebrates are endemic to the state (Thelander and Crabtree 1994). About 175 plants and 145 animals are listed as endangered or threatened either by the national or state governments or by both.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits to California of urban protected areas are substantial. Many of these benefits derive from outdoor recreation. Although reliable estimates of their economic value are hard to find, the number of annual visits are impressive: Golden Gate NRA, 14.5 million; East Bay Regional Parks, 14 million; Tamalpais State Park, 2 million; Santa Monica Mountains NRA, 470,000; a number of urban state beaches all in the millions (California Tourism 2001).

The California Environmental Dialogue, a group of business and environmental leaders, recently concluded that California’s "natural communities are an integral part of the economic foundation upon which future prosperity depends." It pointed out that many businesses and skilled workers locate in California because of its natural assets; protection of watershed and wetlands reduces the need for costly new water-treatment plants and lessens the cost of flood damage; and commercial fisheries depend on protection of wetlands, streams, and watersheds (TPL 1999). The Trust for Public Land has compiled a detailed list of these and other benefits (TPL 1993).

Intangible values

One role of nature in California is intangible: it has to do with identity. In a place where most people come from somewhere else and have few traditions in common, the natural landscape dominates the California imagination. The extent to which this is so "is apprehended, even by Californians, only dimly," writes the novelist Joan Didion. "Deriving not only from the landscape but from the claiming of it, from the romance of emigration, the radical abandonment of established attachments . . . this imagination remains obdurately symbolic, tending to locate lessons in what the rest of the country perceives only as scenery" (Wyatt 1986).

Management issues

Policy-makers and protected-area managers in these metropolitan areas are faced with many problems familiar to their counterparts elsewhere in the world: under-funding, overuse, disturbance of plants and wildlife, litter, and petty crime. The cost of acquiring land has skyrocketed, but agencies and NGOs have become expert in finding ways to pay for it.

How to support operations and maintenance is another matter and a perennial problem. Should visitors be charged a fee? (Currently, the trend is for a small fee or none.) Should businesses be enlisted as contributing "partners"? (Generally, the feeling is strongly against this, but the state park system recently partnered with a car manufacturer.)

Four other aspects of managing urban protected areas are especially challenging in California: fragmentation; invasive alien species; fire; and water and air quality.


Administrative fragmentation is a fundamental problem. The large number of actors involved in running protected areas in these regions makes it hard to do things ecologically. Managers spend much of their time on interagency coordination. This is often difficult because agencies have different purposes, constituencies, organizational cultures, legal structures, and technical systems. In some cases, cooperation is constrained by long-standing rivalries.

Physical fragmentation also presents serious difficulties. Most protected areas have not been designed to protect biodiversity, and many of the wildlife migration corridors still existing are in danger of development, especially around Los Angeles (CWC 2001).

California has no coordinated planning for protected areas. While there is system planning within agencies, what happens in practice has more to do with opportunism or political bargaining. As with other aspects of protected areas in California, NGOs such as California Wilderness Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club have led in promoting a larger vision. In 1991, state and national agencies formed the California Biodiversity Council to improve coordination statewide and within 10 bioregions; however, the council’s main role so far has been to facilitate information exchange (CIPA 2001a). 

If more comprehensive approaches are adopted, care must be taken to leave room for innovative, catalytic agencies such as the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

Invasive alien species

Invasive alien species of plants and animals are the most difficult challenge on the ground.

Over a thousand nonnative plants are naturalized in California, making "natural" a relative term in many protected areas, particularly at lower elevations around cities. While many of these plants are only an annoyance, about 75 of them are aggressive invaders that displace natives and disrupt natural systems. Many organizations are involved in control efforts; the California Exotic Pest Plant Council, an NGO, serves as an information clearinghouse.

Among the most conspicuous aggressive species are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis). One of the worst invasive plants is giant reed (Arundo donax), introduced for erosion control in the early 19th century. Giant reed chokes riparian systems, forming dense stands up to 8 m tall. It crowds out native plants that shade streams, resulting in warmer water that harms aquatic life. It uses more water than native plants, lowering groundwater tables.  It is highly flammable (Bossard 2000, CNPS 1998).  Control is an expensive process that involves cutting plants to the ground and brushing on herbicide manually to avoid harming native species.

There are also aquatic plant invaders. One of these, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), a pretty ornamental, threatens the San Francisco Estuary and is on a "red alert" list of plants that have "potential to spread explosively."

Nonnative animals are an increasing problem, with aquatic environments most seriously affected. Of the 112 freshwater and estuarine fishes established in California, 54 are exotic species. The Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis), first seen in San Francisco Bay in 1992, spread rapidly throughout the estuary and now numbers in the millions. According to the San Francisco Estuary Project, more than a hundred species of exotic aquatic invertebrates, including clams, oysters, and worms, are found in the bay. New bottom-dwelling animals are unintentionally introduced at the rate of about one a year, mainly in ship ballast water. The Asian clam (Potamocorbula amurensis), first noticed in the bay in 1986, has altered the food web to the detriment of native salmon, among other species; in one section there are up to 25,000 clams per square meter. The Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species serves as an information clearinghouse.


Controlling wildfires is a double-edged sword in California’s urban protected areas. Lightning-caused fires are a natural part of California ecosystems. If fires are suppressed, fuel builds up and makes the inevitable human-caused or natural fire harder to stop. If fires burn out of control, they can move into adjoining built-up areas. Prescribed burning results in a healthier plant community (and helps to control invasive species), but it is risky.

Fires periodically burn large areas of the mountains in and around the Los Angeles region, sometimes invading residential areas. However, the worst recent fire on the urban-wildland interface was in the San Francisco Bay Area. It started just outside one of the East Bay Regional Parks on a dry, windy day in October 1991. The flames killed 25 people, injured 150, and destroyed 2,900 houses. As part of an interagency fire-safety program, the park agency now maintains a 25-km fuel break and closes parks during periods of high danger.

Water and air quality

In both regions, water supply and flood-control projects disrupt natural hydrological cycles, and the ocean and many urban streams are polluted. San Francisco Bay, the outlet to the sea for 16,200,000 ha of California’s interior, receives toxic chemicals from agriculture, industry, mining, and urban runoff.

Air quality impacts natural communities as well as humans. California has stringent programs to control air pollution, but relentless population growth and a car-centered lifestyle make this an uphill battle. Air pollution affects vegetation types in different ways. Chaparral is relatively resistant, while some conifers are very sensitive to it. Effects are most dramatic in the mountains above Los Angeles, which receive the highest levels of ozone and nitrogen in North America; pines are dying and other native trees are taking their place.

Reaching out to urban residents

As in large cities all over the world, many residents of California’s urban regions have less and less connection to nature. Consequently, the quality of their lives is diminished, they have little understanding of the benefits of natural areas, and they may be less likely to give political support to conservation.

The reasons for this phenomenon are various. A large proportion of the residents of these cities came from elsewhere and may not be aware of what exists nearby. Some lack the means to visit protected areas. Others are afraid of wildlife and wildness, or too preoccupied with electronic diversions.

Appreciation for nature comes from outdoor experiences rather than environmental education; in fact, without direct experience of nature, teaching about environmental issues can actually breed cynicism about the environment (Finger 1992).

Agencies responsible for protected area systems are exceptionally qualified to provide outdoor experiences. Most such agencies are keenly aware of the need for urban outreach, but their performance has been very mixed.

In 1987, the U.S. Forest Service established a Wildland Recreation and Urban Cultures Research Unit in the Los Angeles area to formulate "effective visitor management strategies for high-use wildland recreation areas with an emphasis on different cultural and user groups." One of the main issues it addresses, nationally as well as in California, is the discomfort members of some ethnic groups have in visiting protected areas because they see few people like themselves among visitors or staff.

The National Park Service held a "Mosaic in Motion" conference in 1999 in San Francisco to address the lack of ethnic diversity among NPS visitors and staff nationwide. A follow-up Community Partners Program has led to modest initiatives in Los Angeles and San Francisco that include junior ranger programs and park job training for underrepresented ethnic groups.

Some protected-area agencies work with school systems, but few links have been established with other urban educational institutions such as zoos and natural history and science museums.

A number of agencies and NGOs have continuing programs to take poor inner-city residents to nearby protected areas. Probably the oldest such program is the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program, which started in 1969. However, these efforts are small in relation to the need.

Intervening in the inner city: A portal park in Los Angeles

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has taken a bold step further. Challenged by elected officials from inner-city Los Angeles to apply its expertise in their poor neighborhoods, as well as in the affluent mountains, the conservancy decided to create a portal to the natural world of the region. The 3.5-ha Augustus F. Hawkins Natural Park was opened in December 2000. It lies on a busy street surrounded by recycling businesses and run-down houses occupied by recent immigrants. The park has samples of seven ecosystems, including chaparral, oak woodland, and freshwater marsh. The visitor center and other structures conform to the high design standards the conservancy applies to all its projects. A ranger resides on site, supporting a junior ranger program and organizing trips to the conservancy’s mountain parks.

An international perspective

California has much to learn from other countries about protected areas, and much to share, but it is relatively isolated from the international conservation community. Two state park agencies recently asked the California Institute of Public Affairs to look for new ideas from abroad. One recommendation was to learn from British efforts to reach out to poor and minority communities, including the highly successful Groundwork program. Another was to explore ways of protecting large-scale, lived-in landscapes as has been done in several European countries.

One more international dimension needs mentioning. For two reasons, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre’s Protected Area Database gives an incomplete picture of the situation in these urban regions. First, entries are limited to units managed by the national and principal state agencies. Omitted are sizable areas managed by other state agencies, as well as local governments and NGOs. Examples are several units of East Bay Regional Parks, including the 3,700-ha Ohlone Wilderness; and The Nature Conservancy’s 3,400-ha Santa Rosa Reserve. Second, the database does not include substantial areas with unconventional means of protection such as the regulatory regime for San Francisco Bay.

Los Angeles and San Francisco have strong legacies of protected areas and have made much progress in recent years despite daunting pressures. Many natural places have been destroyed around these cities, but others can still be preserved. As in the past, strong and inspired citizen leadership will be the deciding factor.


Note: Many other sources on California’s natural environment and protected areas are listed with annotations in Trzyna 1999.

Backstrand, N., and Lathrop, E.W. 1993. The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Fremontia 22 (2).

Bossard, C.C., et al. 2000. Invasive plants of California’s wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley.

California Tourism. 2001. California fast facts 2001: Statewide and regional tourism facts and figures. California Tourism, Sacramento.

CIPA (California Institute of Public Affairs). 2001a. An ecosystem approach to natural resource conservation in California. CIPA, Sacramento.

CIPA. 2001b. The Groundwork approach to neighborhood renewal: What California can learn from an innovative British environmental partnership organization. CIPA, Sacramento.

CNPS (California Native Plant Society). 1994. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants, 5th edition. CNPS Press, Sacramento. Current data posted at

CNPS. 1998. Special issue: Weeds. Fremontia 26 (4).

CWC (California Wilderness Coalition). 2001. Missing linkages: Restoring connectivity to the California landscape. CWC, Davis.

Finger, M. 1993. Environmental adult learning in Switzerland. Center for Adult Learning, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.

Gilliam, Harold. 1969. Between the devil and the deep blue bay: The struggle to save San Francisco Bay. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

McAliney, M. 1993. Arguments for land conservation: Documentation and information sources for land resources protection. Trust for Public Land, Sacramento Field Office. "Economic benefits," pp. 3-16.

McPhee, J. 1989. Los Angeles against the mountains. In: The control of nature. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York. 183-272.

Stephenson, J.R., and Calcarone, Gena M. 1999. Southern California mountains and foothills assessment: Habitat and species conservation issues. Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, Albany, California.

Thelander, C.G., and Crabtree, M. (eds.). 1994. Life on the edge: A guide to California’s endangered natural resources. BioSystems Books, Santa Cruz, California.

TNC (The Nature Conservancy of California). 2001. Our California: Wild by nature, preserved by design. TNC, San Francisco. Posted at

TPL (Trust for Public Land). 1999. Protecting California’s threatened landscapes (looseleaf). TPL, Sacramento.

Trzyna, T. 1999. The California Handbook: A comprehensive guide to sources of current information and action, 8th edition. California Institute of Public Affairs, Sacramento. Part II, "California’s environment and natural resources" (pp. 33-90), is a detailed guide to organizations and the literature.

Trzyna, T. 2000. An international perspective on California state parks: A report to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. California Institute of Public Affairs, Sacramento.

WCMC (World Conservation Monitoring Centre). 1992. Global biodiversity: Status of the Earth’s living resources. Chapman & Hall, London. The "Hot Spots" list (p. 155) refers to the California Floristic Province, covering most of the state as well as small areas outside its boundaries, in which 48 percent of the native flora is endemic.

Wyatt, D. 1986. The fall into Eden: Landscape and imagination in California. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,

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Weekend swimmers in the East Fork San Gabriel River (Angeles National Forest)

California's urban protected areas:

Progress despite daunting pressures

Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains viewed from Downtown Los Angeles