Chaparral is a plant community dominated by
woody, drought-hardy shrubs and shaped by a Mediterranean-type climate (summer
drought, winter rain). Early Spanish visitors to the region called this plant habitat chaparro (“short one”) because of its
abundance of shrubs and short oaks.
Green chaparral scrub
covers more than 20,000 square miles of California’s hillsides. Natural fires
that happen every 30 years or so help keep chaparral habitat healthy. Fires
enrich the soil and open the ground to sunlight.