Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found in the US state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. It is shaped by a Mediterranean climate and wildfire, featuring summer-drought-tolerant plants with hard sclerophyllous evergreen leaves, as contrasted with the associated soft-leaved, drought-deciduous, scrub community of coastal sage scrub, found below the chaparral biome. Chaparral covers 5% of the state of California and associated Mediterranean shrubland an additional 3.5%. The name comes for evergreen oak shrubland. In its natural state, chaparral is characterized by infrequent fires, with intervals ranging between 30-150+ years. Mature chaparral is characterized by dense thickets; these plants are flammable during the late summer and autumn months when conditions are characteristically hot and dry. They grow as woody shrubs with thick and small leaves, contain green leaves all year, are drought resistant. After the first rains following a fire, the landscape is dominated by small flowering herbaceous plants, known as fire followers, which die back with the summer dry period.
Similar plant communities are found in the four other Mediterranean climate regions around the world, including the Mediterranean Basin, central Chile, the South African Cape Region, in Western and Southern Australia. According to the California Academy of Sciences, Mediterranean shrubland contains more than 20 percent of the world's plant diversity; the word chaparral is a loan word from Spanish chaparro, meaning both "small" and "dwarf" evergreen oak, which itself comes from a Basque word, that has the same meaning. Conservation International and other conservation organizations consider chaparral to be a biodiversity hotspot – a biological community with a large number of different species –, under threat by human activity; the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, of the Mediterranean forests and scrub biome, has three sub-ecoregions with ecosystem—plant community subdivisions: California coastal sage and chaparral:In coastal Southern California and northwestern coastal Baja California, as well as all of the Channel Islands off California and Guadalupe Island.
California montane chaparral and woodlands:In southern and central coast adjacent and inland California regions, including covering some of the mountains of the California Coast Ranges, the Transverse Ranges, the western slopes of the northern Peninsular Ranges. California interior chaparral and woodlands:In central interior California surrounding the Central Valley, covering the foothills and lower slopes of the northeastern Transverse Ranges and the western Sierra Nevada range. For the numerous individual plant and animal species found within the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, see: Flora of the California chaparral and woodlands Fauna of the California chaparral and woodlands; some of the indicator plants of the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion include: Quercus species – oaks: Quercus agrifolia – coast live oak Quercus berberidifolia – scrub oak Quercus chrysolepis – canyon live oak Quercus douglasii – blue oak Quercus wislizeni – interior live oak Artemisia species – sagebrush: Artemisia californica – California sagebrush, coastal sage brush Arctostaphylos species – manzanitas: Arctostaphylos glauca – bigberry manzanita Arctostaphylos manzanita – common manzanita Ceanothus species – California lilacs: Ceanothus cuneatus – buckbrush Ceanothus megacarpus – bigpod ceanothus Rhus species – sumacs: Rhus integrifolia – lemonade berry Rhus ovata – sugar bush Eriogonum species – buckwheats: Eriogonum fasciculatum – California buckwheat Salvia species – sages: Salvia mellifera – black sage Another phytogeography system uses two California chaparral and woodlands subdivisions: the cismontane chaparral and the transmontane chaparral.
Cismontane chaparral refers to the chaparral ecosystem in the Mediterranean forests and scrub biome in California, growing on the western sides of large mountain range systems, such as the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in the San Joaquin Valley foothills, western slopes of the Peninsular Ranges and California Coast Ranges, south-southwest slopes of the Transverse Ranges in the Central Coast and Southern California regions. In Central and Southern California chaparral forms a dominant habitat. Members of the chaparral biota native to California, all of which tend to regrow after fires, include: Adenostoma fasciculatum, chamise Adenostoma sparsifolium, redshanks Arctostaphylos spp. manzanita Ceanothus spp. ceanothus Cercocarpus spp. mountain mahogany Cneoridium dumosum, bush rue Eriogonum fasciculatum, California buckwheat Garrya spp. silk-tassel bush Hesperoyucca whipplei, yucca Heteromeles arbutifolia, toyon Acmispon glaber, deerweed Malosma laurina, laurel sumac Marah macrocarpus, wild cucumber Mimulus aurantiacus, bush monkeyflower Pickeringia montana, chaparral pea Prunus ilicifolia, islay or hollyleaf cherry Quercus berberidifolia, scrub oak Q. dumosa, scrub oak Q. wislizenii var. frutescens Rhamnus californica, California coffeeberry Rhus integrifolia, lemonade berry Rhus ovata, sugar bush Salvia apiana, white sage Salvia mellifera, black sage Xylococcus bicolor, mission manzanita The complex ecology of chaparral habitats supports a large number of animal species.
The Mojave Desert is an arid rain-shadow desert and the driest desert in North America. It is in the southwestern United States within southeastern California and southern Nevada, it occupies 47,877 sq mi. Small areas extend into Utah and Arizona, its boundaries are noted by the presence of Joshua trees, which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species, it is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. The central part of the desert is sparsely populated, while its peripheries support large communities such as Las Vegas, Lancaster, Victorville, St. George; the Mojave Desert is bordered by the Great Basin Desert to its north and the Sonoran Desert to its south and east. Topographical boundaries include the Tehachapi Mountains to the west, the San Gabriel Mountains and San Bernardino Mountains to the south; the mountain boundaries are distinct because they are outlined by the two largest faults in California – the San Andreas and Garlock faults.
The Mojave Desert displays typical range topography. Higher elevations above 2,000 ft in the Mojave are referred to as the High Desert; the Mojave Desert occupies less than 50,000 sq mi, making it the smallest of the North American deserts. The Mojave Desert is referred to as the "high desert", in contrast to the "low desert", the Sonoran Desert to the south; the Mojave Desert, however, is lower than the Great Basin Desert to the north. The spelling Mojave originates from the Spanish language while the spelling Mohave comes from modern English. Both are used today, although the Mojave Tribal Nation uses the spelling Mojave; the Mojave Desert receives less than 2 inches of rain a year and is between 2,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation. The Mojave Desert contains the Mojave National Preserve, as well as the lowest and hottest place in North America: Death Valley at 282 ft below sea level, where the temperature surpasses 120 °F from late June to early August. Zion National Park in Utah lies at the junction of the Mojave, the Great Basin Desert, the Colorado Plateau.
Despite its aridity, the Mojave has long been a center of alfalfa production, fed by irrigation coming from groundwater and from the California Aqueduct. The Mojave is a desert of two distinct seasons. Winter months bring comfortable daytime temperatures, which drop to around 25 °F on valley floors, below 0 °F at the highest elevations. Storms moving from the Pacific Northwest can bring rain and in some places snow. More the rain shadow created by the Sierra Nevada as well as mountain ranges within the desert such as the Spring Mountains, bring only clouds and wind. In longer periods between storm systems, winter temperatures in valleys can approach 80 °F. Spring weather continues to be influenced by Pacific storms, but rainfall is more widespread and occurs less after April. By early June, it is rare for another Pacific storm to have a significant impact on the region's weather. Summer weather is dominated by heat. Temperatures on valley floors can soar above 130 °F at the lowest elevations. Low humidity, high temperatures, low pressure, draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico creating thunderstorms across the desert southwest known as the North American monsoon.
While the Mojave does not get nearly the amount of rainfall the Sonoran desert to the south receives, monsoonal moisture will create thunderstorms as far west as California's Central Valley from mid-June through early September. Autumn is pleasant, with one to two Pacific storm systems creating regional rain events. October is one of the sunniest months in the Mojave. After temperature, wind is the most significant weather phenomenon in the Mojave. Across the region windy days are common. During the June Gloom, cooler air can be pushed into the desert from Southern California. In Santa Ana wind events, hot air from the desert blows into the Los Angeles basin and other coastal areas. Wind farms in these areas generate power from these winds; the other major weather factor in the region is elevation. The highest peak within the Mojave is Charleston Peak at 11,918 feet, while the Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 279 feet below sea level. Accordingly and precipitation ranges wildly in all seasons across the region.
The Mojave Desert has not supported a fire regime because of low fuel loads and connectivity. However, in the last few decades, invasive annual plants such as some within the genera Bromus and Brassica have facilitated fire; this has altered many areas of the desert. At higher elevations, fire regimes are infrequent; the Mojave Desert is defined by numerous mountain ranges creating its xeric conditions. These ranges create valleys, endorheic basins, salt pans, seasonal saline lakes when precipitation is high enough. These
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U. S. the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento; the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, the country's second most populous, after New York City. California has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; the City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. California's $3.0 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, the 36th most populous as of 2017.
The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies, after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 among large PSAs, is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation and politics, it is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.
S. state. California is bordered by Oregon to the north and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; the state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time and wildfires have become more pervasive features. What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries; the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.
The western portion of Alta California was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom; the word California referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. The name derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, inhabited by black women without a single man among them, they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with great virtue; the island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the craggy rocks. Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA. Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000; the Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their political organization with bands, villages, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash and Salinan.
Trade, intermarriage a
Rocky Mountain Floristic Region
The Rocky Mountain Floristic Region known as the Rocky Mountain Floristic Province, is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in western North America delineated by Armen Takhtajan and Robert F. Thorne; the region extends from Kodiak Island in Alaska to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sierra Nevada in California. The Vancouverian Province comprises the coastal part of the region for its entire length, including the Pacific Coast Ranges, the Rocky Mountain Province includes the Rocky Mountains and associated ranges. There are no endemic plant families in the region but species; the region spans from Kodiak Island of Alaska to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sierra Nevada of California, running between the shore of the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Great Plains on the east, along the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast Ranges. It is bordered by the Canadian Province of the Circumboreal Region in the north, by the North American Prairies Province of the North American Atlantic Region in the east and by the Californian Province of the Madrean Region in the south.
The borders with the Canadian and Californian Provinces are vague. Although the Rocky Mountain Region has no endemic vascular plant families and only one endemic Marchantiophyta family, it has many endemic genera and numerous endemic species; the genera Arnica, Castilleja and Lomatium have their major center of diversity here. The region possesses the greatest diversity of conifers in the New World; the remaining wildland of the province is covered by temperate coniferous forests dominated by Pinus ponderosa, Pinus contorta and Pseudotsuga menziesii, as well as the alpine tundra above timberline. The region is subdivided further into the Vancouverian Rocky Mountain Province; the Vancouverian Province comprises the coastal part of the region for its entire length, including the Pacific Coast Ranges. Such plant species and genera as Sequoia sempervirens, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Darlingtonia californica and Whipplea are endemic to it; the boundary with the Californian Province is not well-defined.
The Rocky Mountain Province includes associated ranges. Due to more heavy glaciation during the Pleistocene, its flora in the north, has a far lower degree of endemism than that of the Vancouverian Province. Much of it is shared with the Canadian Province and the Circumboreal Region in general
Central Valley (California)
The Central Valley is a flat valley that dominates the geographical center of the U. S. state of California. It is 40 to 60 miles wide and stretches 450 miles from north-northwest to south-southeast, inland from and parallel to the Pacific Ocean coast, it covers 18,000 square miles, about 11% of California's total land area. The valley is bounded by the Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges to the west, it is California's single most productive agricultural region and one of the most productive in the world, providing more than half of the fruits and nuts grown in the United States. More than 7 million acres of the valley are irrigated via an extensive system of reservoirs and canals; the valley has many major cities, including the state capital Sacramento. The Central Valley watershed comprises over a third of California, it consists of three main drainage systems: the Sacramento Valley in the north, which receives well over 20 inches of rain annually. The Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems drain their respective valleys and meet to form the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, a large expanse of interconnected canals, stream beds, sloughs and peat islands.
The delta empties into the San Francisco Bay, ultimately flows into the Pacific. The waters of the Tulare Basin never flow to the ocean, though they are connected by man-made canals to the San Joaquin and could drain there again if they were to rise high enough; the valley encompasses all or parts of 18 Northern California counties: Butte, Glenn, Kings, Merced, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Tehama, Yuba and the Southern California county of Kern. The Central Valley is known to residents as "the Valley." Older names include "the Great Valley," a name still seen in scientific references, "Golden Empire," a booster name, still referred to by some organizations. The Central Valley is outlined by the Cascade, Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi mountain ranges on the east, the California Coast Ranges and San Francisco Bay on the west; the broad valley floor is carpeted by vast agricultural regions, dotted with numerous population centers. Subregions and their counties associated with the valley include: North Sacramento Valley Sacramento Metro North San Joaquin South San Joaquin There are four main population centers in the Central Valley, each equidistant from the next, from south to north: Bakersfield, Fresno and Redding.
While there are many communities large and small between these cities, these four cities act as hubs for regional commerce and transportation. About 6.5 million people live in the Central Valley today, it is the fastest growing region in California. There are 12 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and 1 Micropolitan Statistical Area in the Central Valley. Below, they are listed by μSA population; the largest city is the state capital Sacramento, followed by Fresno. The following metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas listed from largest to smallest: The flatness of the valley floor contrasts with the rugged hills or gentle mountains that are typical of most of California's terrain; the valley is thought to have originated below sea level as an offshore area depressed by subduction of the Farallon Plate into a trench further offshore. The San Joaquin Fault is a notable seismic feature of the Central Valley; the valley was enclosed by the uplift of the Coast Ranges, with its original outlet into Monterey Bay.
Faulting moved the Coast Ranges, a new outlet developed near what is now San Francisco Bay. Over the millennia, the valley was filled by the sediments of these same ranges, as well as the rising Sierra Nevada to the east; the one notable exception to the flat valley floor is Sutter Buttes, the remnants of an extinct volcano just to the northwest of Yuba City, 44 miles north of Sacramento. Another significant geologic feature of the Central Valley lies hidden beneath the delta; the Stockton Arch is an upwarping of the crust beneath the valley sediments that extends southwest to northeast across the valley. The Central Valley lies within the California Trough physiographic section, part of the larger Pacific Border province, which in turn is part of the Pacific Mountain System; the "Central Valley grassland" is the Nearctic temperate and subtropical grasslands and shrub lands ecoregion, once a diverse grassland containing areas of desert grassland, savanna, riverside woodland, several types of seasonal vernal pools, large lakes such as now-dry Tulare Lake, Buena Vista Lake and Kern Lake.
However, much of the Central Valley environment
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico, it has an area of 260,000 square kilometers. The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the Madrean Region in southwestern North America, part of the Holarctic Kingdom of the northern Western Hemisphere; the desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the saguaro and organ pipe cactus. The Sonoran desert wraps around the northern end of the Gulf of California, from Baja California Sur, north through much of Baja California, excluding the central northwest mountains and Pacific west coast, through southeastern California and southwestern and southern Arizona to western and central parts of Sonora.
It is bounded on the west by the Peninsular Ranges, which separate it from the California chaparral and woodlands and Baja California Desert ecoregions of the Pacific slope. To the north in California and northwest Arizona, the Sonoran Desert transitions to the colder-winter, higher-elevation Mojave, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau deserts. To the east and southeast, the deserts transition to the coniferous Arizona Mountains forests and Sierra Madre and Sierra Madre Occidental pine–oak forests at higher elevations. To the south the Sonoran–Sinaloan transition subtropical dry forest is the transition zone from the Sonoran Desert to the tropical dry forests of the Mexican state of Sinaloa; the desert's sub-regions include the Colorado Desert of southeastern California. In the 1957 publication Vegetation of the Sonoran Desert, Forrest Shreve divided the Sonoran Desert into seven regions according to characteristic vegetation: Lower Colorado Valley, Arizona Upland, Plains of Sonora, Foothills of Sonora, Central Gulf Coast, Vizcaíno Region, Magdalena Region.
Many ecologists now consider Shreve's Vizcaíno and Magdalena regions, which lie on the western side of the Baja California Peninsula, to be a separate ecoregion, the Baja California Desert. Within the southern Sonoran Desert in Mexico is found the Gran Desierto de Altar, with the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar, extending 2,000 square kilometers of desert and mountainous regions; the Pinacate National Park includes the only active erg dune region in North America. The nearest city to the Reserva de la Biosfera el Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar is Puerto Peñasco in the state of Sonora, Mexico. Sub-regionsSonoran Desert sub-regions include: Colorado Desert Gran Desierto de Altar Lechuguilla Desert Tonopah Desert Yuha Desert Yuma Desert The Sonoran Desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, more than 2,000 native plant species; the Sonoran Desert area southeast of Tucson and near the Mexican border is vital habitat for the only population of jaguars living within the United States.
The Colorado River Delta was once an ecological hotspot within the Sonoran desert, fueled by the flow of fresh water through the Colorado river in this otherwise dry area, but the delta has been reduced in extent due to the damming and use of the river upstream. Many plants not only thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. Many have evolved to have specialized adaptations to the desert climate; the Sonoran Desert's biseasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world. The Sonoran Desert includes plant genera and species from the agave family, palm family, cactus family, legume family, numerous others; the Sonoran is the only place in the world. Cholla, hedgehog, prickly pear, nightblooming cereus, organ pipe are other taxa of cacti found here. Cactus provides food and homes to many desert mammals and birds, with showy flowers in reds, pinks and whites, blooming most from late March through June, depending on the species and seasonal temperatures.
Creosote bush and bur sage dominate valley floors. Indigo bush and Mormon tea are other shrubs. Wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert include desert sand verbena, desert sunflower, evening primroses. Ascending from the valley up bajadas, various subtrees such as velvet mesquite, palo verde, desert ironwood, desert willow, crucifixion thorn are common, as well as multi-stemmed ocotillo. Shrubs found at higher elevations include whitethorn acacia, fairy duster, jojoba. In the desert subdivisions found on Baja California, cardon cactus, elephant tree, boojum tree occur; the California fan palm is found in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, the only native palm in California, among many other introduced Arecac
Northern California is the northern portion of the U. S. state of California. Spanning the state's northernmost 48 counties its main population centers include the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Sacramento area, the Metropolitan Fresno area. Northern California contains redwood forests, along with the Sierra Nevada, including Yosemite Valley and part of Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, most of the Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions; the 48-county definition is not used for the Northern California Megaregion, one of the 11 megaregions of the United States. The megaregion's area is instead defined from Metropolitan Fresno north to Greater Sacramento, from the Bay Area east across Nevada state line to encompass the entire Lake Tahoe-Reno area. Native Americans arrived in northern California at least as early as 8,000 to 5,000 BC and even much earlier, successive waves of arrivals led to one of the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America; the arrival of European explorers from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries did not establish European settlements in northern California.
In 1770, the Spanish mission at Monterey was the first European settlement in the area, followed by other missions along the coast—eventually extending as far north as Sonoma County. Northern California is not a formal geographic designation. California's north-south midway division is around 37° latitude, near the level of San Francisco. Popularly, though, "Northern California" refers to the state's northernmost 48 counties; because of California's large size and diverse geography, the state can be subdivided in other ways as well. For example, the Central Valley is a region, distinct both culturally and topographically from coastal California, though in northern versus southern California divisions, the Sacramento Valley and most of the San Joaquin Valley are placed in northern California; the state is considered as having an additional division north of the urban areas of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan areas. Extreme northern residents have felt under-represented in state government and in 1941 attempted to form a new state with southwestern Oregon to be called Jefferson, or more to introduce legislation to split California into two or three states.
The coastal area north of the Bay Area is referred to as the North Coast, while the interior region north of Sacramento is referred by locals as the Northstate. Northern California is the name of a proposed new state on the 2018 California ballot created by splitting the existing state into three parts. Since the events of the California Gold Rush, Northern California has been a leader on the world's economic and cultural stages. From the development of gold mining techniques and logging practices in the 19th century that were adopted around the world, to the development of world-famous and online business models, northern California has been at the forefront of new ways of doing business. In science, advances range from being the first to isolate and name fourteen transuranic chemical elements, to breakthroughs in microchip technology. Cultural contributions include the works of Ansel Adams, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, as well as beatniks, the Summer of Love, the cradle of the international environmental movement, the open, casual workplace first popularized in the Silicon Valley dot-com boom and now in use around the world.
Other examples of innovation across diverse fields range from Genentech to CrossFit as a pioneer in extreme human fitness and training. It is home to one of the largest Air Force Bases on the West Coast, the largest of California, Travis Air Force Base. Northern California's largest metropolitan area is the San Francisco Bay Area which includes the cities of San Francisco, San Jose and their many suburbs. In recent years the Bay Area has drawn more commuters from as far as Central Valley cities such as Sacramento, Fresno and Modesto. With expanding development in all these areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey Bay Area, central part of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills may now be viewed as part of a single megalopolis; the 2010 U. S. Census showed that the Bay Area grew at a faster rate than the Greater Los Angeles Area while Greater Sacramento had the largest growth rate of any metropolitan area in California; the state's larger inland cities are considered part of Northern California in cases when the state is divided into two parts.
Important cities in the region not in major metropolitan areas include Eureka on the far North Coast, Redding, at the northern end of the Central Valley and Yuba City in the mid-north of the Valley, as well as Fresno and Visalia on the southern end. Though smaller in every case except for Fresno than the larger cities of the vast region, these smaller regional centers are of historical, inflated economic importance for their respective size, due to their locations, which are rural or otherwise isolated. Inhabited for millennia by Native Americans, from the Shasta tribe in the north, to the Miwoks in the central coast and Sierra Nevada, to the Yokuts of the southern Central Valley, northern California was among the most densely populated areas of pre-Columbian North America; the first European to explore the coast was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing for the Spanish