Virtual Guidebook to the Northern California Coast and Coast Ranges
The Pygmy Forest and the Albion River
inland from Little River, Mendocino County California


Scattered across the raised coastal platforms of the Mendocino coast are areas with an ancient soil, depleted of nutrients and hostile to plant growth. Here, despite the mild climate and abundant rain, the forest grows only head high and is dominated by dwarfish varieties of cypress and pine. All around the edges of these "pygmy forests", where erosion has broken through the white soil, the redwoods and Douglas firs gow to normal height.



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Start of the nature trail at the pygmy forest in Van Damme State Park

(November 13, 2007)


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Dwarf Bolander pine (Pinus contorta) is the largest species in the pygmy forest

(November 13, 2007)


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Mendocino cypress is another dwarf tree species in the pygmy forest

(November 13, 2007)


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A hint of fall color in the redwood forest on the upper Albion River

(November 13, 2007)


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Protected habitat along the tiny Albion River near Comptche

(November 13, 2007)


Next Locality: Montgomery Woods State Reserve