Welcome to the California Native Grasslands Association
Celebrating and conserving the ecological richness of California's grasslands

Grassland Facts

Deer in restored native grassland. Photo by Andrew Rayburn

  • Over 300 species of native grasses are found in California. Grasses are an integral part of diverse habitats, ranging from cool, wet forests to hot, dry deserts.

  • Native grasslands support about 40% of California's total native plant species (Wigand 2007:55).

  • An astounding 90% of California's rare and endangered plant species reside in grasslands.

  • The decline in native grasses and grasslands in the last two centuries has been caused by intensive cultivation, poorly managed grazing, urbanization, fire suppression, and the introduction of invasive, nonnative species.
  • Agriculture, invasion by exotic species, development, and other human-related activities have reduced California native grasslands by 99%

  • The deep roots of native grasses stabilize soil, increase water infiltration, and recycle nutrients. Appropriate management and restoration of grasslands can reap these benefits.

  • About 88% of California grasslands are privately owned (Jantz et al. 2007:301).

  • Well-managed grazing can help maintain native grass populations in California grasslands. Native grasses offer a long, green forage season.

  • Native grasses planted in urban landscapes are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and can filter polluted runoff.

References are from Stomberg MR, Corbin JD, and D'Antonio CM. 2007. California Grasslands: Ecology and Management, University of California Press. 

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