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A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area.
Microclimates can be found, for example, near large bodies of water that cool the local atmosphere, or in very urban areas where brick, concrete, and asphalt absorb the sun's energy, heat up, and reradiate that heat to the air temperature resulting as an urban heat island.
It is easy to forget that our homes and gardens are a small but important part of the larger region of micro-climates and habitats that are home to thousands of species. These integrated life forms, or eco-systems, have evolved and are native to the environment that we also call home. Our efforts to conserve and preserve biodiversity brings us one step closer to living sustainably.
These microclimates combined with our generally Mediterranean climate and varied landforms create a number of distinct habitats.
This habitat range includes:
San Diego has four distinct microclimates:
Habitat destruction occurs when a natural habitat is found to be functionally unable to support the species present. The organisms which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.
Perhaps the greatest threat to organisms and biodiversity is the process of habitat loss in the process of development and construction of sites that were previously wild lands. Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and pollution are aspects of habitat destruction caused by humans that result in habitat collapse.
Habitat destruction is often caused by humans and includes conversion of land for:
The California Environmental Quality Act required reduction and mitigation of impacts from development projects that include new construction and the installation of associated landscape areas. Development often creates small areas of open space that are disconnected from other habitat areas, and often result in isolated areas that are too small to support any significant populations of wildlife.
In San Diego County, the objective of the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) is to provide for large, connected preserve areas that address a number of species from a integrated habitat perspective. This creates a more efficient and effective preserve system and is better adapted to protect the rare, threatened and endangered species in the region.
The laws and guidelines of the MSCP:
County of San Diego- Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)
The variety in micro-climates provide habitats for a wide range of native species. The San Diego region is a conservation “hotspot” because of the vast numbers and variety of threatened and endangered species that reside here.
Some useful guidelines to consider when planning a landscape remodeling project, or new land development include:
Biological diversity, or biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals and other living things in a particular area or region. It includes genetic variety, species diversity, and variety in local ecosystems, and landscapes.
San Diego County is among the top 10 biodiversity regions on earth and 20% of all plant species are found in Mediterranean climates like San Diego. The County of San Diego recognizes 20 unique Vegetation Communities each with a diverse number of plant and animal species that are native to Southern California.
County of San Diego- Biodiversity
This web site is supported by Carl D. Perkins VTEA IC funds through the System. Office, California Community Colleges,