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
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