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
About the Author
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).
“Gives readers a proper introduction to the California chaparral. . . . [and] the authors are the ideal team for writing this volume. . . . an excellent book to acquaint general readers or unfamiliar natural scientists with the characteristics and processes of the California chaparral.”
— Quarterly Review of Biology
“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.”
“Useful as a field guide and as 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.”
— Botanical Research Institute of Texas