California beach plants are capable of dealing with harsh conditions, but little is known about how this community responds to human-induced impacts. The objective of this paper is to determine if beaches experiencing higher degrees of impacts from trampling have more cover of two common plant species thought to grow particularly well under difficult conditions, Ambrosia chamissonis (Less.) Greene and Cakile maritima Scop. Seventeen sites were sampled between 2007 and 2009 with one meter wide belt transects and the sites were divided into three groups; high (people walk anywhere on the beach), medium (foot traffic is restricted to trails), and low impact levels (little to no access). Cover of all species present were recorded. Cover of A. chamissonis is statistically higher on beaches with a high level of impact than low and medium levels. Cakile maritima cover is statistically higher on beaches with medium levels than those with low or high levels of impact. However, the total cover of all species is not significantly different between any level of impact.
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Vol. 60 • No. 1