Birth by Flames
Being our native landscape, the chaparral defines California as a place. It is an extremely rare ecosystem that is only found in few parts of the world. They occur in coastal areas of Mediterranean zones, the west coast and Cape Town area of South Africa, the west coast of Australia, and most importantly, California where it covers more than 10 million acres of land. This equates to 8.5% of the total land cover of the state! Together, the chaparrals around the world harbor 20% of plant life in the world (WWF - California Chaparral & Woodlands). It supports enormous amounts of native wildlife and vegetation but recently this unique ecosystem is under attack. Urbanization and grazing threatens this precious landscape. Before long, we could lose the very thing that uniquely defines our golden state. By protecting the chaparral, we are in a sense protecting what really separates us as Californians. From the facts I have gathered in books and lectures, I will use logos to convince why these sensitive shrub-lands are worth protecting. As said in my umbrella topic, this essay will focus on the magnificence of this unique ecosystem. The chaparral, the very treasure of California that separates us from the rest of North America, is in danger from our actions.
The chaparral is a widespread ecosystem in California. “Seen from the air or from the ground, the texture of the landscape of the California foothill is varied. Each turn seems to bring something different: first woodland comes into view, then the next hillside is covered with dense shrubs; cresting a hill are open savanna and grassland (Barbour p. 90).” The chaparral grows between the elevations of 300 to 3,000 feet with low annual rainfall. It is interspersed with the surrounding oak woodlands and grasslands. The vegetation of this zone is characterized by a single dense “impenetrable” layer of “twiggy” shrubs four to eight feet tall (Kueppers). The ground is stony and littered with dried...
Cited: Barbour, Michael. California 's Changing Landscapes Diversity and Conservation of California Vegetation. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Soc., 1994. Print.
Kueppers, Lara. "Chaparral and Fire." Ecosystems of California. University of California, Merced, Merced. Lecture.
"WWF - California Chaparral & Woodlands." WWF - WWF. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/california_chaparral_woodlands.cfm>
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