Chaparral

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Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community. It is found mainly in the U.S. state of California. Also in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. It is caused by a Mediterranean climate (mild, wet winters and hot dry summers) and wildfire.

A chaparral has summer drought-tolerant plants.[1] They have hard sclerophyllous evergreen leaves.[2] Chaparral covers 5% of the state of California.[3] Of the associated Mediterranean shrubland, it covers an additional 3.5%.[3] The name comes from the Spanish word chaparro, referring to scrub oaks.[4]

There are four other chaparral regions in the world.

  1. parts of the Mediterranean coast, known as maquis
  2. Central Chile, known as matorral
  3. South African Cape, known as fynbos
  4. South Australia, known as kwongan

Chaparral does not often have fires. These are usually at intervals from 10–15 years to over a hundred years. Mature chaparral often has dense thickets. They are highly flammable.

References[change | change source]

  1. Nancy Bauer, The California Wildlife Habitat Garden (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), p. 175
  2. William Skinner Cooper, The Broad-sclerophyll Vegetation of California: An Ecological Study of the Chaparral and its Related Communities (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1922), p. 21
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Hotspot; California on the Edge". California Academy of Sciences. 2005. http://www.calacademy.org/exhibits/california_hotspot/habitat_mediterranean_shrublands.htm. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  4. Peter R. Dallman, Plant Life in the World's Mediterranean Climates: California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean Basin (Berkeley: University of California Press; Sacramento: California Native Plant Society, 1998). p. 67