Santa Cruz cypress delisted as endangered species

September 2, 2013

Another success of the Endangered Species Act. The Santa Cruz cypress — a small evergreen tree that grows exclusively in five spots in Santa Cruz County — has been removed from the endangered species list following years of conservation efforts.

It’s been downgraded to threatened status since the population in all five habitats is secure.

“The remarkable rebound of this precious little California evergreen is the latest proof that the Endangered Species Act puts species on the path to recovery,” said Angela Crane, endangered species organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity in a press release.

Found near the Bonny Doon and Eagle Rock areas of Santa Cruz County, the compact coniferous tree has dense, cone-producing branches and thrives in coastal chaparral communities above the fog belt. It was listed as an endangered species in 1987 because of pressure from development and nonnative plants, and since then a recovery plan has ensured that its habitat has come under full protection. The cypress now numbers between 33,000 to 44,000 trees, a dramatic increase from the estimated 2,300 remaining at the time of its listing.

Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region
Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region


About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.

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