Cupressus goveniana (Flowering Plants)
The Gowen Cypress is a small coniferous tree in the cypress family (Cupressaceae). It generally reaches a height between 17 to 23 feet. The sparsely branched tree forms a short, broad crown, and the bark is brown to gray in color and is generally smooth, although it becomes rough and fibrous on old trees. The scale-like foliage is a light rich green, with leaves about 1/2 inch long.
The Gowen Cypress is currently found in only two stands. The largest stand, Del Monte Forest, is near Huckleberry Hill on the west side of the Monterey Peninsula and covers approximately 100 acres on lands owned by the Pebble Beach Company and the Del Monte Forest Foundation. The second stand, Point Lobos, occurs approximately 6 miles south of the Huckleberry Hill stand on the north side of Gibson Creek inland of the Point Lobos Peninsula. The property is owned by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and is approximately 40 to 80 acres.
The GGNP is outside the natural range of the Gowen Cypress. But an enterprising horticulturalist planted a single Gowen Cypress in the Presidio many years ago. This individual is still alive, giving visitors to the GGNP an opportunity to see a threatened plant normally restricted to Monterey County.
The species is threatened by the alteration, destruction, and fragmentation of habitat resulting from urban development and recreational activities like golf course development and the disruption of natural fire cycles due to fire suppression associated with increasing residential development around and within occupied habitat. It has been protected under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1998.
Conservation Action Item
Think & Adapt:
Consider how to best save nature in an era of climate change
The presence of the Gowen Cypress in the GGNP raises questions we all need to grapple with. When is it appropriate to move imperiled wildlife and plants, and when we do it, how do we do it properly? In an era of climate change, these questions will become more important—and more difficult—to answer. To answer the question properly, we need to understand our objectives and the entire ecosystem we will be affecting. Begin the process of answering these questions by thinking about how we will save nature and adapt our world to a new era of climate change. Then write a few sentences answering the questions above. Answers can be written in the note box to the right.
The 2010 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year will lead several interpretive walks to help you get this conversation started.
Big Year Competitors have reported 0 sightings and taken 0 actions to help this species recover so far this year.
- None scheduled
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