A Wonderland of Biodiversity
They frequently use derogatory descriptions of old-growth chaparral in newspaper editorials, casual conversations and during professional wildfire conferences. Managed forests appear to be their favored environments and they see chaparral as a threat. They refer to old-growth chaparral as senescent, decadent, or emphasized with a deep, guttural sound from the bowels of Mordor, "brush!" - all of which is in need of immediate elimination. Rather than recognizing old-growth chaparral as a viable ecosystem, they think of it as invading forests or grasslands. Some have vested interests in grazing livestock or sending forth chipping machines to grind up large tracts of backcountry wilderness to provide fuel for power generators (i.e. biomass).
Suggested treatment: Leave the office, take a walk into a stand of old-growth chaparral with a few children. Kids have the uncanny knack for helping adults rediscover their natural appreciation for Nature. And we invite you to join our Chaparral Naturalist course to learn about Nature in ways that will inspire you in unexpected ways.
Below we offer a few photos here of some of our favorite examples of old-growth chaparral. Please send us photos of your own special example. For additional photographs of one of old-growth chaparral's most characteristic species, manzanita, please visit Pete Veilleux's album.