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Science Spotlight: Santa Cruz Sandhills

by Emma Hiolski

The Santa Cruz sandhills are a unique, fragmented habitat covering about 4,000 acres within the mountains of central Santa Cruz County. Scattered between Bonny Doon, Felton, Scotts Valley and Ben Lomond, the sandhills feature chaparral scrub and Ponderosa pines growing in large swaths of fine white-sand soil.

This sand once covered a seafloor, and was lifted to its present height over the course of 15 million years. If you’re lucky, you might find ancient sand dollars or shark’s teeth in the Zayante sand soil.

The sandhills, the only habitat of its kind, hosts seven kinds of plants, animals and insects found nowhere else in the world. State or federal agencies have listed all of these species as endangered. Development and sand mining have destroyed about 40 percent of the original habitat, ecologists estimate. Invasive species also threaten the ecosystem.

Ironically, fire prevention is another problem. The sparse sandhills habitat has adapted to infrequent but intense fires, says environmental scientist Tim Hyland of California State Parks. “It didn’t burn very often, but when it did it went off like a bomb,” Hyland says. Without regular fires, leaf litter can build up, allowing oak trees and Douglas firs to invade.

Conservationists have helped some native sandhill species return to damaged areas. For instance, the Ben Lomond spineflower has regrown after prescribed burns, Hyland reports. Zayante band-winged grasshoppers have also reappeared in sand quarries, says local ecologist Jodi McGraw, offering hope for the resilience of this fragile environment.

Hikers in the sandhills must stay on marked and mapped trails, McGraw emphasizes. It’s too easy to collapse the burrows of the endangered Santa Cruz kangaroo rat!

Two of the bast places to experience the sandhills are on the observation deck hike in Henry Cowell State Park, and on a rare guided hike to the “forbidden” sandhills at Quail Hollow Ranch County Park.

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The links in this article do not work: neither the one for the observation deck hike or the one to the curiously quotation marked forbidden sandhills at Quail Hollow.

 

Sand hills around the Santa Cruz area is one of the best attractions of the tourists visiting the country. These sand hills with the good amount of unique zayante sand soil are something quite interesting. Researches are going on to find the scientific prospects of the same. manufactured homes

 

Sand hills around the Santa Cruz area is one of the best attractions of the tourists visiting the country. These sand hills with the good amount of unique zayante sand soil are something quite interesting. Researches are going on to find the scientific prospects of the same. order assignment service

 

Land there herb multiply days fowl. Seas gathered. Dominion place open seas great likeness in abundantly image fill, darkness without darkness can't winged. Upon night fish. Divide for shall. Fruit. places to eat near me

 

The great demonstration of Santa Cruz sandhills by Emma Hiolski. I am fond of visiting these types of places where I can find peace and relax. As a writer from sssignment service uk, I am happy to find this post because it is very informative having unique information about the sandhills, in fact, I didn’t know about any of these points which you described in this post.