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Unique S.B. Forest

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August 30, 2005 10:11AM
Thriving under the tree tops Unique plant life indigenous to I.E.
Kelly Rush, Staff Writer

San Bernardino County Sun BIG BEAR LAKE - A hike through the San Bernardino Mountains offers a view of soaring pines, scrub and rocky outcroppings at first glimpse.

It takes a look below the tree canopy to see what really makes the forest unique, botanists say.

Among all the world's forests, a dozen plants in the Big Bear area, from Kennedy's Buckwheat to the Silver-Haired Rat Tail, can only be found here, U.S. Forest Service Botanist Scott Eliason said.

Their rarity is what makes them special and also has helped earn them protection under the Federal Endangered Species Act, he said.

One habitat, the Pebble Plain, compares to a coral reef in the sheer number of plant species that thrive there. The mountains also are more richly diverse than either the Sierra or Rocky mountain ranges.

"The San Bernardino Mountains are extremely special,' he said. "The mountains are at an intersection of large-scale habitats, (including) the coastal areas and the deserts. That leads to one of the highest botanical diversities in the U.S.'

With about 4 million visitors annually, forest managers must constantly survey these rare and sensitive species to ensure they are not being harmed by recreational use.............................



Unique S.B. Forest

katrina island 1612August 30, 2005 10:11AM

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