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Chaparral

Chaparral

Image: California montane chaparral plant community, Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara County, Southern California. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests Last Updated on 2014-04-08 13:33:58 The Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests support a complex and diverse flora with a notable number of endemic species. This vegetation is very valuable in terms of biodiversity conservation, soil protection, and hydrological stability. This element of of the Iberian Peninsula’s habitat is crucial for the preservation of some of the most endangered animal species in Europe, including the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), and the great bustard (Otis tarda). A large wolf (Canis lupus) population resides here also. In recent history, deforestation, intensive agriculture, and resultant erosion have altered the landscape significantly, and the ecoregion continues to be degraded by these practices as well as by hydroelectric dam construction, road building, and and overly intense hunting practices. The Iberian sclerophyllous... More »
California coastal sage and chaparral Last Updated on 2014-03-06 18:01:11 The California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion, located along the southern and central coast of California, has extremely high levels of species diversity and endemism. The coastal sage scrub is an endangered ecosystem that contains a number of endangered species. The California Gnatcatcher is currently being used as an umbrella species to protect the endemic flora and fauna of this region from urban development. The region is listed as an Endemic Bird Area with a large number of endemic scrub species. Generally located on high value coastal zone real estate and threatened by land development, the ecoregion represents the struggle between ecological preservation and human development. The California coastal sage and chaparral encompasses coastal terraces, plains, and foothills along the Pacific coast of northwestern Mexico and southern California, USA. The Santa Rosa Mountains... More »
California interior chaparral and woodlands Last Updated on 2014-01-28 16:15:28 The California interior chaparral and woodlands ecoregion forms a nearly continuous ellipse of oak woodland and chaparral around the California Central Valley, ranging from 300 to 3000 feet in elevation. This California ecoregion continues across the coast ranges to the Pacific Ocean from Point Reyes to Santa Barbara, with breaks around the redwood belt south of San Francisco Bay and the montane communities of the Santa Lucia Range that parallel the coast south of Monterey Bay. This ecoregion is classified as an element of the Mediterranean Forests, Woodland and Scrub Biome. There is moderate faunal species richness,; for example, a total of 369 vertebrate taxa are recorded within the ecoregion. Within the California Interior Chaparral and Woodland ecoregion, one finds a mosaic of grasslands, chaparral shrublands, open oak savannas, oak woodlands, serpentine communities,... More »
California montane chaparral and woodlands Last Updated on 2014-01-18 19:36:44 The California montane chaparral and woodlands is a near coastal ecoregion in Southern California, USA. This ecoregion is disjunctive, with a major element in Southern California and another along the Monterey County coast. The California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregion is classified as an element of the Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands and Scrub Biome. The faunal diversity of this ecoregion is moderate, with a total of 347 vertebrates having been recorded here. The montane habitats of southern California share many species with the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the north and the lower-elevation mediterranean woodlands and chaparral. Their communities, however, are distinctive in structure and composition, in addition to supporting a number of endemic and relict species. The ecoregion encompasses most of the Transverse Range that includes the San Bernardino Mountains;... More »
Leather Oak Last Updated on 2014-01-18 12:16:02 The Leather Oak, a California endemic, occurs primarily in the California interior chaparral and woodlands ecoregion. It is a species with strong affinity for ultramafic soils, a geochemical class of high magnesium, low calcium and nutrient deficient media.  In appearance this is a shrub-like tree whose leathery leaves reveal its common name and obvious membership in the sclerophyll vegetation category, a morphological class of hard leaved species that may occur in such diverse places as Australia, Southern Africa, the Chilean matorral and the Mediterranean Basin as well as the California Floristic Province.  Q durata has two recognized varieties:    * var. durata, occurs at elevation 150 to 1500 m in the California North and South Coast Ranges, San Francisco Bay Area and northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Upper leaf sufaces of this variety are severely... More »