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Introduction to California Chaparral

Ronald D. Quinn (Author), Sterling Keeley (Author), Marianne D. Wallace (Illustrator)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 344 pages
ISBN: 9780520245662
September 2006
$26.95, £19.95
Other Formats Available:
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.

* Identifies chaparral’s common plants, animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects

* Features 79 color illustrations, 56 black-and-white photographs, and 3 maps

* Examines the role of humans and fire in chaparral, covering the placement and design of homes, landscaping, and public policy

Fire and Chaparral
Where Is Chaparral Found?
Chaparral Is Found with Other Vegetation Types
Coastal Sage Scrub Is Not Chaparral
How Organisms Are Named
The Pacific High
Rainfall—Always Unpredictable
Winds That Carry Water or Take It Away
Rain Beetles Mate Only When There Is Rain
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
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
Rodents (Order Rodentia)
Rabbits and Hares (Order Lagomorpha)
Deer and Bighorn Sheep (Order Artiodactyla)
Carnivorous Mammals (Order Carnivora)
Perching Birds (Order Passeriformes)
Hawks (Order Falconiformes)
Owls (Order Strigiformes)
Snakes (Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes)
Lizards (Order Squamata, Suborder Lacertilia)
Insects and Arachnids
Insects (Class Insecta)
Trap Door Spiders, Ticks, and Scorpions (Class Arachnida)
Other Chaparral Insects
Prescribed Fire
Fuel Reduction and Fuel Breaks
Artificial Seeding of Burns
Fire Creates Its Own Weather
Geographic Risk
Threats to Chaparral
Options for Wise Growth
The Value of Chaparral

Supplemental Readings and References
Art Credits
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).
“Quinn and Keeley offer a needed and timely introductory guide . . . engaging, easy-to-read, well-illustrated. . . . this book should be on a required reading list for all residents of the chaparral.”—Choice
“This excellent book gives readers a proper introduction to the California Chaparral. . . . The authors are the ideal team for writing this volume.”—Qtly Review Of Biology

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