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The soil depth variable.

These three close plant communities transition: from Grass/forb land (the shallowest soil), to Chaparral (intermediate in soil depth) to Oak Woodland or Southern Oak Woodland(the deepest soil, deep enough to support trees, usually over 4 feet in depth).

One of the many points the “tecchies” out there miss, that has been pointed out repeatedly by the old naturalists, is that the Chaparral plant community 'creates' moisture. There is almost no runoff from chaparral sites, and the soil only becomes dry on 'real' drought years. Most of the time soil moisture ranges from moist (not wet) to slightly dry. This is a great growing bed for the oaks, pines and trees of higher rainfall areas. The higher the brush gets, the more blowing fog or clouds are caught, and the more fog is created from this catch and release.

California cities that occur in Chaparral.

Chaparral is far from uniform so it is not possible to 'connect the dots'. I've drawn out the areas that could be in the range of the Chaparral plant community.

There's been a push by fire departments and insurance companies to remove Chaparral in urban interface areas. Here are some points to ponder.

Firemen don't usually die in brush fires, they die in grass fires. Weedy fields burn faster than you can drive, never mind run. By the time you figure out a grassy area is burning, it is over. It's like standing in the middle of a tunnel with a high speed train coming. Remove the alien, annual grasses and weeds; manage the native brush.
To repeat (ad nauseum!), there is almost no erosion in clean Chaparral; there are large mud slides in areas of Chaparral that have been converted to grass. In the large lysimeter study that was done at San Dimas, California, the conclusion was: removing brush would lead to enormous erosion problems. But fire insurance commonly doesn't cover mud slides....

Approximate map of zip codes  where the Chaparral community exists in California - grid24_12
California cities in the chaparral.
Here are two flower-color variants of Leptodactylon californicum, Prickly Phlox, that grow together in the central California chaparral. - grid24_12
California chaparral with Woolly blue curls, Chamise and Deerweed - grid24_12
Wooly blue curls with penstemon centranthifolius - grid24_12
The edge of a chaparral woodland, home on the range - grid24_12
Arctostaphylos crustacea subsp. eastwoodiana, Harris Grade manzanita, in its natural habitat of chaparral, in the California coastal zone.  Vaccinium ovatum is also present here along with Pinus muricata. Here it is making a square mile of mounding ground cover about 2 ft. high. It would be lovely if someone would give us money to do this. - grid24_12
Chaparral at about 4000 ft. in Southern California - grid24_12
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Edited on Jun 05, 2013. Authors:
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