California Department of Fish and Wildlife

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Department of Fish & Wildlife
Biogeographic Data Branch

Physical Address:
1700 9th Street, 4th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811

Mailing Address:
1416 9th Street, Suite 1266
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 322-2493 • Email BDB

Natural Communities — List

Below are three versions of the currently accepted List of Vegetation Alliances and Associations (or Natural Communities List). The list is based on A Manual of California Vegetation, Second Edition or MCVII, which is the California expression of the National Vegetation Classification.

This list replaces all other lists of terrestrial natural communities and vegetation types developed for the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB). Currently included in this list are 350 alliances, 2140 associations, 82 provisional alliances, 66 provisional associations, 96 semi-natural stands, 15 stand types (within semi-natural category), and 15 special stands. For a full definition of these categories, see the MCVII.

This list should be cited as:

List of Vegetation Alliances and Associations. Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program, California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA. September 2010.

Please see Background Info on how to interpret the lists and for the meaning of the codes and asterisks (*).

  • [PDF] Natural Communities List Arranged Alphabetically by Life Form, Sept. 2010
    Alliances and their associations are listed alphabetically within life forms: first are vegetation types dominated or characterized by trees, then by shrubs, then by herbaceous plants.
  • [PDF] Hierarchical List of Natural Communities with Holland Types, Sept. 2010
    The list is presented within the National Vegetation Classification hierarchy, the same arrangement displayed in Appendix 3 of the MCVII minus the "group" level, which is still under active development at the national level. Within this hierarchy, we have placed the natural communities as described by Holland (1986) that are currently found in the pick list in CNDDB Rarefind. Users more familiar with Holland types can see the approximate relationships of those types to alliances and associations, and thus transition to the State’s new classification system.
  • [XLS] Full Natural Community Hierarchy, Sept. 2010, Excel Version
    The Excel® version of the entire hierarchical classification contains primary and additional supporting references to the studies in which the types were described. See Background Info for contact information to request descriptions.