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Locations and Geography

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• Located on the west coast of the United States, west coast of South America, Cape Town area of South Africa, the western tip of Australia and coastal areas of the Mediterranean. Usually between 30 and 40 degrees north and south latitudes on the west coast of continents.
• Favorable climatic conditions for Chaparral biomes are shore areas with nearby cold ocean currents.
• Consists of flat plains, rocky hills and mountain slopes.

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Chaparral Climate Mediterranean Climate (Cs)

In the winter the Chaparral climate, also known as the Mediterranean climate, is mild and moist, but not rainy. During the summer
it is very hot and dry. The temperature is usually mild but it can get very hot or nearly freezing. The temperature range is between
30° and 100° F.

Annually 10-17 inches of rain all year, and most of it comes in the winter. Because of the long period of dryness in the summer,
only plants with hard leaves can survive, such as scrub oaks, , pines, cork and olive trees. Many leaves are also hairy so they
can collect the moisture out of the air and use it.

There are many fires in the chaparral because of the heat and dryness. Some plants have adapted even to the fires. Their seeds
will lie dormant until there is a fire. Their seed casings will crack and the seed will sprout only then. Another thing about the fires
is that they are also caused by the shortage of rain in the chaparral during the summer. Another is that many types of shrubs and
flora, like sage, rosemary, and oregano. These hold highly flammable oils.

Chaparrals exist in a mid-latitude climate and lie in a belt of prevailing westerly winds. This is why chaparrals tend to be on the
west sides of continents. It is classified under Köppen's climate classification system as Cs. The C stands for warm temperature climates, where the average temperature of the coldest months is 64° F. The s stands for a dry season in the summer of the hemisphere it is in.

Chaparrals can be found from 30° to 50° N and 30° to 40° S latitudes. The chaparral climate occurs in central and southern coast
of California; the coast areas of the Mediterranean Sea; coastal western and southern Australia; the Chilean coast in South America, and the Cape Town region of South Africa.


"Chaparral", New Book of Knowledge 1998 ed.

"Climate Zones", Encarta CD-Rom Encyclopedia, (Microsoft Corporation) 1995 ed.

"Chaparral Climates", New Book of Knowledge, 2000 ed.

Chapparal – Vegetation

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PLANTS: Most chaparral plants have large, hard leaves, which hold moisture. The plants
are also very well adapted to fires. Plants in the chaparral often have root systems
designed to get as much water as possible. Shallow roots extend horizontally under the surface of the soils and are good at catching water when it falls as rain; taproots extend
deep into the soil to capture groundwater. Some examples of plants in the chaparral
are toyon, chemise, poison oak, scrub oak, Yucca and other shrubs, trees and cacti.
The maquis contains plants such as myrtle, hawthorn, and broom. The Australian
mallee is more open than these other types of chaparral and consists mainly of dwarf eucalyptus trees. The fynbos is also
composed mainly of scrub and shrubs, such as heathers and protea plants.

vegetation composed of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, bushes, and small trees usually less than 2.5 m (about 8 feet) tall;
together they often form dense thickets. Chaparral is found in regions with a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean area, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The name chaparral is applied primarily to the coastal and inland…

Chaparral is a geographically widespread ecosystem (or biome) occurring in warm-temperate environments with a "Mediterranean" climatic regime, characterized by mild, cool, moist winters and hot, dry summers. Chaparral is a shrub-dominated ecosystem, particularly by species with evergreen, waxy, thick (or sclerophyllous), drought-resistant foliage. The shrub canopy is 3-13 ft (1-4 m)
tall, sometimes with intertwining branches among closely-spaced plants. Periodic wildfires during the dry season are an important environmental influence on the structure of the chaparral ecosystem.

Chapparal vegetation is most widespread in coastal California and northwestern Mexico, in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Europe, and in smaller areas in southern Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Although different species of plants dominate
the chaparral biome in each of these widely separated regions, they are all of a rather similar growth form, because they have
evolved in response to similar regimes of natural selection (this is known as convergent evolution).

More than 100 species of shrubs occur in chaparral communities in California (plus many other kinds of plants and animals). The
most widely distributed species of shrub is chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum). On drier sites it is commonly joined by species
of manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) and buckbrush (Ceanothus spp.). On moister sites, associated species include scrub oak
(Quercus dumosa), chaparral holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia), chaparral cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), redberry and coffeeberry (Rhamnus spp.), silk-tassel bush (Garrya spp.), lemonadeberry and sugarbush (Rhus spp.),
and laurel sumac (Malosma laurina).

1. Ecology A biome characterized by hot dry summers and cool moist winters and dominated by a dense growth of mostly
small-leaved evergreen shrubs, as that found in the foothills of California.
2. A dense thicket of shrubs and small trees.

Chapparal – Vegetation

The definitions of a “Chaparral” is:

1. Ecology a biome characterized by hot dry summers and cool moist winters and dominated by a dense growth of mostly small
leaved evergreen shrubs (As that found in the foothills of California).
2. A dense thicket of shrubs and small trees.

The definition of “Vegetation” is:

The plants of an area or region; plant life.

The Chapparal vegetation is mostly in California, Mexico, Europe, and small areas in southern Australia, Chile, and South Africa.
A lot of the chaparral plants have large hard leaves, which hold moisture. The plants are very well adapted to fires, and also plants
in the chaparral often have root designed to get as much water as possible. Their roots extend horizontally underground and are
good at catching water when it rains. (Some examples are; poison oak, scrub oak, and chemise.)

The animals are all mainly grassland and desert types adapted to hot, dry weather. A few examples from California are: coyotes,
jack rabbits, mule deer, alligator lizards, horned toads, praying mantis, honey bees and ladybugs. In Europe one might find wild
goats, sheep, cattle, mouflon, horses, lynx, wild boar, rabbits, vultures and eagles. There are also many small mammals, reptiles
and insects, just like in California. The fynbos of South Africa also has many butterfly species that rely on this habitat.

Here are some facts on the anmials that are found in the Chapparral Biome.

You can find the Cactus in the desert of Southwestern United States and the chaparral of southern California and northern Mexico.
The Cactus Wren is usually found below 4,000 feet. The Cactus Wren is about 7-9 inches long, and is the largest wren in the United States. Both the male wren and the female wren look alike. Both are brown and have a white stripe running over each
Eye. Cactus Wrens don't migrate and are considered permanent residents of the region they live in. Males defend their territory throughout the breeding season. They sing songs. The Cactus Wren mainly eats insects like ants, beetles, and grasshoppers. It
also eats fruit and seed and sometimes-even tree frogs. It has adapted to its hot habitat by shifting its foraging behavior according t
o the temperature. It begins to forage on the ground, and in the branches of shrubs in the late morning. As the temperature rises i
t will shift its foraging to shady, cooler areas. They stop foraging during the hot afternoon and rest in a shady area. They get
almost all of their water from the food they eat.

Golden Jackal
Golden Jackal
The Jackal looks like a small fox and it has long hair with a long and fluffy tail. Its ears are long and
pointed and they also have a medium size snout. A Jackal is 70 to 80 cm long and its tail is about 25cm. long. The Jackal has long hair with a long and fluffy tail. It has long pointed ears and a medium sized
pointed snout and the body length of a Jackal is 70 to 80 cm. and it weight about 10-15 pounds.

In the winter it gets colder and the Jackal grows a thick coat of hair in preparation to this season.
The Jackal has also adapted to eating insects. Jackals are omnivores. They eat 54% meat and 46%
plants and have a very varied diet. They eat rodents, frogs, fish, insects, eggs, reptiles and fruits.

The Jackal is a predator and it helps the environment by keeping the rodent, gazelle, bird, and frog population down. The Jackal
is not on the endangered species list like most animals and it is very important in the Mediterranean chaparral.

Grey Fox
Grey Fox
The grey fox can be found from Ontario, Canada, throughout the central and southwestern United States down to Venezuela. It also lives in the chaparral of California and Mexico. It lives in wooded and brushy areas of the southwestern, central and eastern United States. You won’t find the grey fox in the Rocky Mountains or in the Great Plains or eastern America.

Unlike the red fox, the grey fox don’t like agricultural areas. The grey fox looks a lot like a small dog
with a bushy tail. The fox's back is whitish-grey in color. The sides of its neck, the base of its tail, back and legs, and the
underside of its tail are bright rusty-red. A black stripe runs along the top of its bushy tail, which ends in a black tip. Its muzzle
is black and a black stripe goes from its eyes towards its neck. The grey fox is 21 to 30 inches long, and its tail is another
11 to 16 inches long. It stands about 15 inches at the shoulder. The adult grey Fox weighs 7 to 11 pounds.

The grey fox has short legs that are very powerful. These legs are designed to give the fox tremendous ability to balance itself
while it climbs. Strong, hooked claws allow them to pull themselves up tree trunks and branches. Its ability to climb trees
allows it to eat food not eaten by the red fox. The color of its fur hides it from predators.

The grey fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees. The grey fox uses its climbing ability to climb tress
to escape its enemies. It is not a fast runner, but can reach speeds of 28 mph. for short distances.

Grey foxes are nocturnal animals and go back to their den during the day. They are very territorial and mark their boundaries
with urine. Females reach maturity at one year and breed from February to March. The father, or dog fox, stays with the
female until the pups are born, and is then thrown out of the den by the female.

The grey fox lives for 6 years in the wild and 12 years in captivity and they do not migrate. The grey fox eats a lot of different
things such as berries, nuts, birds, insects, rabbits and other rodents. The grey fox is an omnivore. The grey fox has few
predators besides man. Its predators are Hawks, eagles, owls, bobcats and dogs will kill and eat the pups. The grey fox is
plentiful in the wild. It often helps the farmer by eating rodents.

Spotted Skunk
Spotted Skunk

The western spotted skunk is an animal that lives in the chaparral biome of southwestern California.
You can find them in the dessert, woods and rocky terrain. It try’s to stay away from the dense
forest and the wetlands. It can live in many different temperatures and often times will live in a hollow tree.

The spotted skunk looks like a cat, only wider and not as high above the ground. It is black with
many white spots, and has a white mark on its forehead. All skunks have a different pattern from
each other. This is used to tell the difference between skunks. The spotted skunk is the smallest t
ype of skunk. It's size ranges from 21 to 25 inches long, including the tail. This type of skunk is
taller than most skunks with long legs, although it is not very long.

All skunks can spray their predators. They have 2 anal glands that are filled with musk. When a skunk sprays, it squeezes the
anal glands together and the musk comes out an anal opening. However, there is a process the skunk goes through before
spraying its enemy. The skunk first gives a warning by stamping its front paws. If the intruder pays no heed, the spotted skunk
then stands stiff and struts around. It then stands on its front paws and waves it’s rear-ending in the air. After that, the skunk
sprays its enemy.

The spotted skunk’s diet in the winter is different from its diet in the summer. In the winter the diet consists of mainly rats and
other rodents. However, in the summer, the skunk's diet changes to more vegetation and insects. The skunks normally eat
small mammals along with these.


Humans live in and around the chaparral biomes. They use the Chapparrals for grazing, logging, dams and water diversions, and intensive agriculture and urbanization.

Human Influence

Humans have a large impact on the chaparral biome. Chaparral biomes are very dry and can result in large fires, but a lot of these
fires are cause by human activity in the area. In Santa Barbra there are endangered species do to them being killed by fires
caused by humans. Chaparral biomes all over the world have been heavily affected by grazing, logging, damns being built,
agriculture and urbanization, All of these are human activity have a major effect of chaparral biomes. Some plant species, like
the Coastal Sage Scrub, have been nearly wiped out by agriculture and urbanization. Luckily there is some good human activity
that helps preserve this animals and plants. In Santa Barbra there is two national parks to help protect the important chaparral
habitat. The Los Padres National Forest stretches from the hills northward to Monterey County, and the Channel Islands
National Park includes the five northern Channel Islands off the coast. These parks contain various natural cultural resources,
such as unique species a Native American artifacts.

Sources/Citations/Links (notes)










Group members: Ryan L (Climate), Ashley M (Vegetation), Janae K (Animals), Matt D (locations and Geography),
Matt T (Human Impact), Brittany F (Goods/Services and website).