Skip to main content

Peak Health

Peak Health

Please note that the information presented in our Peak Health pages reflects findings from the 2016 Measuring the Health of a Mountain report. We are in the process of gathering updates to these findings in 2022, and will update these pages once a new report is published. Thanks for your patience. 

Bird Species
Native Animal Species
Plant Species
Acres Studied
Wildlife Acorn woodpecker | Photo by Nagarajan Kanna


Wildlife are found in every habitat type on the mountain, where they may be grazers, predators, or prey.

Plants Serpentine Barrens | One Tam Image Library


Plant communities, and their arrangement on the landscape, are the foundation of ecosystem health.

Landscapes Landscapes | Photo by Mason Cummings


Most of Mt. Tam’s plant communities are suffering the effects of climate change, invasive species, plant disease, and fire. 

An Ecological Treasure in Our Backyard

The San Francisco Bay Area is part of a nationally and internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot and part of the UNESCO Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve. Located right on San Francisco’s doorstep, Mt. Tamalpais is a vital refuge for many threatened, endangered, and special status species, and is an important link in a much larger network of interconnected open spaces, including the 195,000 acres of protected open space in Marin County that many other plants and wildlife depend upon.

The mountain’s remarkable diversity is thanks to its location near the coast, and to its varied topography, which creates a confounding array of microclimates in a relatively small space. A wide range of soils—including beautiful but harshly metallic green serpentine—create unique niches for different plant communities, and for the animals that depend upon them.  

While Mt. Tamalpais’ plants and animals live in protected open spaces, invasive non-native plants and animals, changing wildfire patterns, plant diseases such as Sudden Oak Death, and climate change still threaten their survival. One Tam partners are working together to monitor, restore, and protect the mountain so that it continues to thrive into the future. 

How Can I Help?

Measuring the Health of Mt. Tamapais

Maintaining a healthy, vibrant, and diverse Mt. Tamalpais begins with understanding how key ecological resources are faring, and how we can better care for this iconic and beloved place.

One Tam partners and Bay Area scientists have come together to try to answer the question: How healthy are Mt. Tamalpais' natural resources?

This report represents the results of an unprecedented collaboration among Mt. Tamalpais’ land managers, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the scientific community to use the most current data and best expert judgment to understand and evaluate the mountain’s health. This guide was created to help others interested in doing their own ecological health assessments. 

The Overall Health of Mt. Tam

Fair condition, no change in trendMt. Tamalpais’ natural resources are in an overall Fair condition and a trend of No Change. Some of the mountain’s plants and wildlife are thriving, while others are suffering the effects of invasive species, plant disease, changed fire frequencies, and climate change. However, even some of those in decline are at a point where their trajectory can still be improved. The condition and trend of many species or groups like invertebrates and bats remain largely unknown.

Learn more through the links to the WildlifePlants, and Landscapes health indicator assessments above, or download the full report here or download our Health Report at a Glance sheet.


Many People, Working Together