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Scientists Map California’s Biodiversity in Updated Edition of Atlas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a new edition of its Atlas of the Biodiversity of California.

Featuring articles by dozens of conservation experts, the second edition of Atlas of the Biodiversity of California is a treasure-trove of information about the state’s fish, wildlife and plant resources. The 124-page book includes a collection of full-color maps, photographs and written accounts of California’s wildlife species and ecosystems.

“This atlas represents the best available information on California’s rich diversity of plant and animal species and natural habitats,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This second edition is a beautifully rendered and timely reminder that California’s ecological diversity is special and worth protecting.”

The atlas features new and updated maps and articles reflecting changes to our understanding of the natural world and the impacts humans have upon it. The atlas includes over 100 nature photographs, 50 full-color maps and 12 wildlife illustrations by artist Dugald Stermer. The new version covers topics ranging from the state’s remarkable geography to how we measure biodiversity, and examples of the complexity and uniqueness of many of California’s treasured habitats. Expanded content on the marine environment, climate change and biodiversity conservation, among other topics, further enriches the story of California’s natural heritage and the forces that shape its future.

The atlas was developed as a user-friendly educational tool. Scientists involved in the project relied heavily on the use of GIS (geographic information systems) technology to create a visual representation – a layering effect used to create the maps – to illustrate the richness and rarity of the state’s flora and fauna. Data were also combined and layered through GIS to visually represent California’s geography and biodiversity. California’s landscape – size, topography, climate and diverse habitats – is what provides for such a wide array of plant and animal life, unparalleled in any other state.

From college students to outdoor enthusiasts, environmental planners to policy makers, the Atlas of the Biodiversity of California, Second Edition, will appeal to anyone with an interest in California’s biological resources.

The second edition of the atlas will soon be available at public and academic libraries and is currently available online. To learn more about the atlas and California’s biodiversity, see the atlas online at wildlife.ca.gov/Data/Atlas.

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