The Cover--Sierra San Pedro Martir Mountains
The front cover of the album, Earth
is a photo taken of the Sierra San Pedro Mountains in Baja California, Mexico.
The photo was taken in July 2001 on a camping trip to this wonderfully isolated
place. This is an amazing range of mountains forming the spine of Baja California,
Mexico. They rise out the desert more than 10,000 feet high and form a plateau
covered in pine and aspen forests as well as mountain meadows. Lower elevations
are rich in oak forest and chaparral reminiscent of
Southern California before overdevelopment.
These mountain have been called a Sky Island because they are an oasis of high altitude life surrounded by desert. They are also a biological island. Many plants and animals are physically isolated by the surrounding desert leading to 15 species of endemic plants, 20 species of endemic birds, 5 species and 8 subspecies of endemic mammals. There is also one species of endemic fish, a trout that can tolerate relatively warm water. Also present are the more common animal species expected in this region including bighorn sheep, mule dear, mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes. As recently as the 1930's, these mountains were home to the California Condor, and recently, there have been efforts to introduce them. It is hoped that they will fly again over these mountains by the end of 2004.
The forests in these mountains look and feel very different than forests in the Sierras of California primarily due to an almost complete lack of fire suppression. The trees tend to be fairly widely spaced and beneath the trees it is very open and undergrowth is sparse. It has been said that this is what the mountains of California looked like in the late 1800's.
For further information on the ecology of these unique mountains, go to: http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/na/na0526_full.html