A little under 110,000 km, or 37 percent of the total land area of the California Floristic Province, is under official protection, although less than one-third of this is in IUCN categories I to IV. Among the mechanisms for protection in this region are several national parks (including two in northern Baja California); nearly 50 wilderness areas (managed by the U.S. Forest Service); 16 national wildlife refuges (managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); 107 state parks; six U.S. military installations; and more than 50 areas managed by NGOs. The creation of many of these protected areas was the result of the dedicated efforts of national conservation organizations, including the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wilderness Society.
The hotspot includes two of the oldest national parks established in the United States: Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park (which provides protection to the biodiversity in the southern Sierra Nevada) were created within days of each other in 1890. Other important national parks in the region include Redwood National Park, officially establish in 1968 (and expanded in 1978) and the 1,010-km Channel Islands National Park, a series of islands off the coast of southern California that provide protection for nesting colonies of seabirds and breeding populations of seals and sea lions, as well as the island fox.
In the last several decades, California has spent more money on conservation and set aside more habitat for protection than any other state in the United States. Nonetheless, the situation in California, the wealthiest of the United States, serves as an important reminder that biodiversity loss and the lack of complete and adequate protection for unique and threatened ecosystems is not just a problem in developing countries.