Managing Arid and Semi-Arid Watersheds

Chaparral Shrublands

Links to Information on Plant Species

Chaparral stands consist of a heterogenous species mix in many locations, but often only one or two species dominate (Fig. 3) (Ffolliott and Thorud 1975b). Shrub live oak (Quercus turbinella) is the most prevalent species, while true (Cercocarpus montanus) and birchleaf mountainmahogany (C. betuloides), Pringle (Arctostaphylos pringlei) and pointleaf (A. pungens) manzanita, yellowleaf (Garrya flavescens), hollyleaf buckthorn (Rhamnus crocea), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), and other shrub species are included in the chaparral mixture of shrub species. Annual and perennial grasses, forbs, and half-shrubs are present, particularly where the overstory canopy is open or only moderately dense. Although the recreational value (hiking, camping, and hunting) of chaparral may be lower than that of higher elevation vegetation types, the close proximity to major population centers provide it with an advantage.

Research has determine that chaparral areas are major sources of water if vegetation control is exercised. Chaparral rangelands are often grazed year-long by livestock, because evergreen plants common to the shrublands provide a continuous forage supply. A variety of wildlife species are found in chaparral shrublands, with comparatively high populations often concentrated in fringe areas.