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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


Photo: National Park Service
  General Description   The Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve is a partnership of 13 protected areas in the greater San Francisco Bay area. It extends through the central California coastal region from the Bodega Research Reserve in the north to Jasper Ridge in the south and includes the Farallon Islands, Angel Island and Alcatraz within the San Francisco Bay. The biosphere reserve is situated on both sides of the San Andreas Fault. Each side has a completely different type of bedrock and the western side of the rift is moving northward.
Habitats in the biosphere reserve are diverse and include mixed evergreen forests, redwood forests, Douglas fir forests, Bishop pine forests, oak forests, woodlands and savannas, coastal scrub, chaparral, coastal dune, coastal strand, tidepools, kelp forests, grasslands and marshes.
The associated fauna is also rich with cougars, Tule elk, California sea lions, elephant seals and many shorebirds.
The Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve is unique in that it spans marine, coastal, and upland resources adjacent to a major metropolitan area, and thus provides easy access to outdoor education and recreation for the inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area. The area supports many recreational activities such as sport fisheries, hiking, bicycling and whale watching.
The biosphere reserve is organized under an association with three councils, which are responsible for management, science and education projects. For instance, members cooperate on tidal pool monitoring and public education in the area of Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Another joint activity is the Coho salmon restoration project which requires habitat inventorying and mapping of several critical watersheds. The biosphere reserve also cooperates with the Iroise Biosphere Reserve (France) in a comparison of coastal ecosystem recovery after human use changes. Research covers topics such as the management of commercially important resources (e.g. fisheries), threats to ecosystems (e.g. oil spills, pollutants, and invasive species) and episodic events (e.g. fires and climate extremes).
  Major ecosystem type   Evergreen sclerophyllous woodland
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   37 to 38N, 122W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   212,022
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -2,300 to +730
  Year designated   1988
  Administrative authorities   Audubon Canyon Ranch; University of California; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Park Service; Stanford University; Marin Municipal Water District; California Department of Parks and Recreation; San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; Point Reyes Bird Observatory; Presidio Trust
  Brief description   Ecosystem restoration
Traditional land use systems
Rare/endangered species
Wildlife population dynamics
Marine/terrestrial interactions
Biological survey and collections
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   Biology, ecotone, population genetics/population dynamics, rare/endangered/threatened species, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Traditional practices/Ethnology/Traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Land use/Land cover.
  Contact address   Lia J. Hull
Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve Association
c/o Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University
CA 94305-5020 Stanford
United States of America
  Telephone   (1.650) 851-6813
  Fax   (1.650) 851-7334
  Web site

Last updated: 11/12/2002

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