Top Left: Prescribed burn in Cheeseboro Canyon, Simi Hills
Top Right: Urbanization along the Santa Monica Mountains
Bottom Middle: Ranching, Santa Rosa Island

With over 50% of California’s human population (20 million people) occupying the Southern California area, human activities has and continues to have a significant influence on the landscape in Coastal Southern California national parks.

  • Cabrillo National Monument has already experienced a loss of biodiversity due to habitat fragmentation. The Point Loma peninsula is virtually cut off to other natural areas by urban development.
  • Even with its remote location, Channel Islands National Park was once occupied by vast sheep and cattle ranches on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands. These practices drastically altered and changed the vegetation community of these island ecosystems.
  • In the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the large number of human inhabitants and associated development has fragmented the landscape, causing a decrease in biodiversity through separation and increased edge effects in conserved areas.

Mandated to preserve, protect, and manage biological resources and related ecosystem processes to maintain ecosystem integrity, the National Park Service is actively engaged in programs and projects that seek to understand the effects of land use changes on the natural landscape. Data gathered from these studies provide information to resource managers in the conservation and management of our parks now and into the future. Learn more about some of these projects from the links below.