The characteristic look of California Chaparral--a soft bluish-green blanket of vegetation gently covering the hills--is known to millions who have seen it as the backdrop in movies and television productions. This complex ecological community of plants and animals is not just a feature of the hills around Hollywood, but is a quintessential part of the entire California landscape. It is a highly resilient community adapted to life with recurring fires and droughts. Written for a wide audience, this concise, engaging, and beautifully illustrated book describes an ancient and exquisitely balanced environment home to wondrous organisms: Fire Beetles that mate only on burning branches, lizards that shoot blood from their eyes when threatened, Kangaroo Rats that never drink water, and seeds that germinate only after a fire, even if that means waiting in the soil for a 100 years or more. Useful both as a field guide and an introductory overview of the ecology of chaparral, it also provides a better understanding of how we might live in harmony, safety, and appreciation of this unique ecological community.
Preface Acknowledgments 1.THE CALIFORNIA CHAPARRAL Fire and Chaparral Where Is Chaparral Found? Chaparral Is Found with Other Vegetation Types Coastal Sage Scrub Is Not Chaparral How Organisms Are Named 2.MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE The Pacific High Rainfall--Always Unpredictable Winds That Carry Water or Take It Away Temperature Microclimates Convergence Rain Beetles Mate Only When There Is Rain 3.FIRE The Fire Cycle The Fire Regime Sources of Ignition Aboriginal Burning Nineteenth-Century Fire Fire Patterns in the Twentieth Century Modern Fires Natural Responses of Plants and Animals to Fire 4.PLANTS An Evergreen,Shrubby Vegetation Common Shrubs and Shrub Families The Rose Family (Roseaceae) The Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae) The Heath Family (Ericaceae) The Oak Family (Fagaceae) The Sumac Family (Anacardiaceae) Other Chaparral Shrubs Conifers: Cypresses,Pines,and Bigcone Douglas Fir Common Herb and Subshrub Families The Waterleaf Family (Hydrophyllaceae) The Poppy Family (Papaveraceae) The Lily Family (Liliaceae) The Legume Family (Fabaceae) The Snapdragon or Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae) Other Chaparral Herbs and Subshrubs Introduced Weeds 5.ANIMALS Mammals Rodents (Order Rodentia) Rabbits and Hares (Order Lagomorpha) Deer and Bighorn Sheep (Order Artiodactyla) Carnivorous Mammals (Order Carnivora) Birds Perching Birds (Order Passeriformes) Hawks (Order Falconiformes) Owls (Order Strigiformes) Reptiles Snakes (Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes) Lizards (Order Squamata, Suborder Lacertilia) Amphibians Insects and Arachnids Insects (Class Insecta) Trap Door Spiders, Ticks, and Scorpions (Class Arachnida) Other Chaparral Insects 6.LIVING WITH THE CHAPARRAL Prescribed Fire Fuel Reduction and Fuel Breaks Artificial Seeding of Burns Fire Creates Its Own Weather Geographic Risk Floods Threats to Chaparral Options for Wise Growth The Value of Chaparral Glossary Supplemental Readings and References Art Credits Index
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Ronald D. Quinn is Professor of Biological Sciences at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has written widely on effects of chaparral wildfires Sterling C. Keeley is Professor of Botany at the University of Hawaii and editor of The California Chaparral: Paradigms Re-examined (1989).