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The characteristic look of California Chaparral—a soft bluish-green blanket of vegetation gently covering the hills—is known to millions who have seen it as the backdrop in movies and television productions. This complex ecological community of plants and animals is not just a feature of the hills around Hollywood, but is a quintessential part of the entire California landscape. It is a highly resilient community adapted to life with recurring fires and droughts. Written for a wide audience, this concise, engaging, and beautifully illustrated book describes an ancient and exquisitely balanced environment home to wondrous organisms: Fire Beetles that mate only on burning branches, lizards that shoot blood from their eyes when threatened, Kangaroo Rats that never drink water, and seeds that germinate only after a fire, even if that means waiting in the soil for a 100 years or more. Useful both as a field guide and an introductory overview of the ecology of chaparral, it also provides a better understanding of how we might live in harmony, safety, and appreciation of this unique ecological community.

* Identifies chaparral’s common plants, animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects

* Features 79 color illustrations, 56 black-and-white photographs, and 3 maps

* Examines the role of humans and fire in chaparral, covering the placement and design of homes, landscaping, and public policy

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