South Sierra Wilderness - Ecology


Two very different landscapes are within the boundaries; the Kern Plateau occupies the southern portion with low, forested ridges, narrow meadows, and woodlands of Jeffrey pine, red fir and lodgepole pine. The northern portion is more mountainous with Olancha Peak and Round Mountain.

Wildlife includes the large Monache deer herd, the sensitive Sierra Nevada Red Fox, pine martens, cougars, and black bears. Native rare plants observed in the area are Kern ceanothus (Ceanothus pinetorum), an edemic shrub found on slopes in pine and red fir forests at elevations between 5,000 feet (1,500 m) and 9,000 feet (2,700 m). The Kern ceanothus is not rare enough to be state or federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, but is considered by the California Native Plant Society "uncommon enough that their status should be monitored regularly". Rare wildflowers include Kern Canyon clarkia (Clarkia xantiana ssp. parviflora) and goosefoot yellow violet (Viola pinetorum ssp. grisea), both endemic to California.

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