Land Biomes: Chaparrals

Chaparral Biome, Merced County, California, USA. This biome has mild winters with abundant rainfall, and extremely dry summers. Chaparral has evergreen shrubs and small trees. Frequent fires occur in the chaparral.
Chaparral Biome, Merced County, California, USA. This biome has mild winters with abundant rainfall, and extremely dry summers. Chaparral has evergreen shrubs and small trees. Frequent fires occur in the chaparral. Ed Reschke/ Stockbyte/ Getty Images

Land Biomes: Chaparrals

Biomes are the world's major habitats. These habitats are identified by the vegetation and animals that populate them. The location of each biome is determined by the regional climate.

Chaparrals

Chaparrals are dry areas typically found in coastline regions. The landscape is predominated by dense evergreen shrubs and grasses.

Climate

Chaparrals are mostly hot and dry in the summer and rainy in the winter, with temperatures ranging from about 30-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chaparrals receive low amounts of precipitation, usually between 10-40 inches of precipitation annually. Most of this precipitation is in the form of rain and it occurs mostly in winter. The hot, dry conditions create a favorable environment for fires which occur frequently in chaparrals. Lightning strikes are the source of many of these fires.

Location

Some locations of chaparrals include:

  • Coastal Regions of Australia (Western and Southern)
  • Coastal Regions of the Mediterranean Sea - Europe, North Africa, Asia Minor
  • North America - Coast of California
  • South America - Coast of Chile
  • South African Cape Region

Vegetation

Due to very dry conditions and poor soil quality, only a small variety of plants can survive. Most of these plants include large and small evergreen shrubs with thick, leathery leaves. There are very few trees in chaparral regions. Like desert plants, plants in the chaparral have many adaptations for life in this hot, dry region.



Some chaparral plants have hard, thin, needle-like leaves to reduce water loss. Other plants have hair on their leaves to collect water from the air. Many fire resistant plants are also found in chaparral regions. Some plants such as the chamise even promote fires with their flammable oils. These plants then grow in the ashes after the area has been burned.

Other plants combat fires by remaining below ground and only sprouting after a fire. Examples of chaparral plants include: sage, rosemary, thyme, scrub oaks, eucalyptus, chamiso shrubs, willow trees, pines, poison oak and olive trees.

Wildlife

Chaparrals are home to many burrowing animals. These animals include ground squirrels, jackrabbits, gophers, skunks, toads, lizards, snakes, and mice. Other animals include aardwolves, pumas, foxes, owls, eagles, deer, quail, wild goats, spiders, scorpions, and various kinds of insects.

Many chaparral animals are nocturnal. They burrow underground to escape the heat in the day and come out at night to feed. This allows them to conserve water, energy and also keeps the animal safe during fires. Other chaparral animals, like some mice and lizards, secrete a semi-solid urine in order to reduce water loss.

Land Biomes

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Bailey, Regina. "Land Biomes: Chaparrals." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/land-biomes-chaparrals-373500. Bailey, Regina. (2017, February 8). Land Biomes: Chaparrals. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/land-biomes-chaparrals-373500 Bailey, Regina. "Land Biomes: Chaparrals." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/land-biomes-chaparrals-373500 (accessed November 24, 2017).