Introduction to the Serpentine Ecosystem

We are sorry but this workshop has been canceled.

Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, will lead this field workshop on the serpentine ecosystem.

Serpentinite is a rare rock type whose source is the mantle of the earth, dozens of miles below the surface. Serpentinite is brought to surface principally through the collision of tectonic plates. Serpentinite is the state rock of California, and one of the best places to view it is the Plumas National Forest. “Serpentine” areas (“serpentine” is a colloquial term that refers generally to the soils and ecosystems that develop on serpentinite and related rocks) characteristically harbor a high number of endemic plant species and an abnormally high number of rare species; they are also important refugia for other native species that cannot compete with the exotic plants that have invaded so many of California’s plant communities. Workshop participants will learn about the geologic history of the northern Sierra Nevada, the geologic sources of serpentinite, and the effects that serpentinite has on the vegetation that grows on it. Participants will also key plant species found in the serpentine areas using The Jepson Manual.