California archaeology by Michael J Moratto; David A Fredrickson

By Michael J Moratto; David A Fredrickson

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In the much wetter northern Coast Ranges are pure stands of redwood or redwood mixed with tanbark oak, Douglas fir, coast hemlock, tideland spruce, and grand fir. On the inner side of the redwood belt is a distinct band of madrone, Douglas fir, and Oregon oak. Last, an arid Transition subzone or pon­ derosa-shrub forest type ( 6800 km2) occurs in the Great Basin below the Sierran forests. Typical of this drier and more exposed type are ponderosa pine, bear brush, manzanita, and Sierra plum (Jepson 1925).

23 24 1. A Goodly Ilande: California's Natural Setting Transition Zone The Transition life zone is California's main forest belt, accounting for some 86,000 km2 of timberland. Among its major types are cedar­ hemlock-Douglas fir forest ( 8 1 00 km2), mixed conifer forest (55,000 km2), California mixed evergreen forest ( 13,600 km2), redwood forest (9300 km2), and coastal sagebrush (9900 km2). The Transition zone con­ tains a greater number of species of trees and shrubs than any other zone in the state.

As Baumhoff (1978: 18) has observed, California's climates are not so rigorous as to "impose of themselves certain modes of living" (as in the Arctic); rather, they are of most importance as a determinant of vegeta­ tion (Major 1977) and, less directly, of fauna! assemblages. Biotic re­ sources consequently affected, more directly than climate, the cultural ecology of prehistoric California. Life Zones and Vegetation Types Reflecting the influence of climate, soil, elevation, aspect, and slope, California's vegetation is richly diverse.

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