Measuring the health of Mt. Tam

Maintaining a healthy, vibrant and diverse Mt. Tam begins with understanding how key ecological resources are faring, and how we can better care for this iconic and beloved place.

One Tam partners and Bay Area scientists have come together to try to answer the question: How healthy are Mt. Tam's natural resources?

Plants & Fungi

Mt. Tam hosts over 750 native plant species that make up rich array of native plant communities. These communities, and their arrangement on the landscape, are the foundation of ecosystem health.

Not every plant community type or rare plant species on Mt. Tam was included in this health assessment process. Additional information about this health assessment process, including how indicators were chosen, is available in the What We Did section of this site.

Good indicators are easily measured, have low “noise,” and often reveal some other aspect of ecosystem health. Rare plants—important aspects of biodiversity in their own right—also play a role in indicating the health of particular ecosystems. Both vegetation communities and individual rare plant populations may also show the effects of stressors such as alteration of natural disturbance regimes (e.g., grazing, fire), climate change, and invasion by non-native species. Lichen and fungi are also important components of the mountain's health about which much less is known. You can learn more about this and some of the other vegetation data gaps revealed through this health assessment process here.

Find out more about the health of the mountain’s rarest flora and other plant communities through the links in the images above.