Map from Keeley, J.E. and F.W. Davis. 2007. Chaparral. In M.G. Barbour (ed), Terrestrial vegetation of California. University of California Press, Los Angeles. Addendum: there's a small patch of chaparral in the southwest corner of Imperial County missing from the map.
Chaparral Area in California by County (in acres)*
San Diego 1,003,441 Los Angeles 553,789
Riverside 499,160 Santa Barbara 440,645 San Luis Obispo 417,718 Monterey 369,345 Ventura 326,447 San Bernardino 276,010 San Benito 246,623 Santa Clara 188,427 Orange 111,550 Marin 37,566 San Mateo 36,152 Santa Cruz 32,328
*From Fried, J.S., C.L. Bosinger, and D. Beardsley. 2004. Chaparral in Southern and Central Coastal California in the Mid-1990's: Area, Ownership, Condition, and Change. USFS Resource Bulletin PNW-RB-240.
The Elfin Forest boardwalk
THE ELFIN FOREST
The following is from a bronze plaque resting at the Elfin Forest Preserve in Los Osos, California. May we all be inspired to make such a difference.
Los Osos residents Jeff and Ann Fairbanks and their daughter Siena lost their lives in a 1995 auto accident. Jeff, the editor of the Telegram-Tribune, and Ann, a reporter with the newspaper, helped raise awareness and money for the preservation of the Elfin Forest.
Ann and Jeff Fairbanks found their spiritual home at the edge of the Morro Bay Estuary, where land and sea come together.
Through words and deeds, Jeff and Ann instilled in their three daughters, and in us, a determination to protect special places such as the Elfin Forest for generations to come.
Drenched in sunshine, stirred by winds or wrapped in muffling fog, the richness of the estuary and the Elfin Forest help us link with the universe. Here we reconnect with the spirits of our dear friends Jeff, Ann, and Siena.
Through a child's eyes, nature is explored, not revered. Imagination breathes life into a tree's branches, creates adventures climbing a sand dune. Nature is a playmate whose friendship is limitless.
Siena Fairbanks once wrote a poem imagining herself as a leaf. "When fall comes I will be thrown around by the kids when they have leaf fights...When fall comes I'll look forward to next spring when I turn green again."
Stand here for a moment; close your eyes and see the Elfin Forest through a child's eyes. That is Siena's view.
Siena's View. Maritime chaparral at the Los Osos Elfin Forest Preserve on Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo.
Mixed chaparral with Ceanothus in bloom above an oak woodland in Malibu Creek State Park.
Red shanks chaparral in foreground right, chamise chaparral in bloom background left. Above Noble Canyon, Pine Valley area, Cleveland National (Chaparral) Forest.
Ceanothus chaparral in the San Mateo Wilderness, Cleveland National (Chaparral) Forest.
Mesic mixed chaparral in the Los Padres National (Chaparral) Forest above Santa Barbara.
Maritime mixed chaparral in Torrey Pines State Reserve near Del Mar, California. The Torrey pine in the background is one of the few trees occasionally found in chaparral.
Manzanita chaparral in the Cleveland National (Chaparral) Forest near Horsethief Canyon on Japatul Road, San Diego County.
Manzanita chaparral (Arctostaphylos viscida) with chamise in Amador County, east of Sacramento. Redbud in fall colors in foreground.
Old-growth chaparral on Catalina Island. This toyon is centuries old. Its trunk is over 16 inches in diameter. Although the island has suffered years of abuse through over-grazing by non-native herbivores (cattle, goats, pigs, deer, and buffalo), it is now slowly recovering with the removal of goats and pigs. Deer and buffalo, however, remain a serious problem for the island's native plant and animal communities.
Desert Chaparral north of Palm Springs. From the linked article on the right: "Then there is desert chaparral, interior chaparral. A place of neither cactus nor dense shrubbery, it exists in a narrow band where water teases life. Nature provides just enough moisture to keep green leaves attached, mostly, and prevents the complete annexation by creosote and thorn." Photo by Robert Steers.
Click photo above to download the full article on desert chaparral.
Arizona form of chaparral south of Payson off Highway 87. Several California chaparral plant species are also found here: Ceanothus greggii, Mexican manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens), and silk-tassel bush (Garrya flavescens). There is also a scrub oak species (Quercus turbinella).
Please see our California Chaparral Preservation Planthat changes how the four National Forests in Southern California are classified and managed in order to better protect the chaparral ecosystem and to help all Americans develop a more rewarding connection with nature.