Station: THE CHAPPARAL AND OAK WOODLAND BIOMES IN CALIFORNIA
There are several different ecosystem types that can be found in California with
chaparral and oak woodlands being key types.
In northern California, chaparral communities occur at elevations of 500 to 3000
feet (150 to 900 m). Species found in chaparral include chamise (Adenostoma
fasciculatum), scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), coyote bush, and several manzanita species
(Arctostaphylos spp.). Chaparral species begin to in late winter in northern California,
with growth continuing until early summer in most years.
It is not uncommon for chaparral to transition into different ecosystem types/biomes
such as oak woodland. Oak woodlands can typically be found on lower elevation slopes.
This area has six common oak tree species, half of which are deciduous (valley, blue, and
black) and the other half which are evergreen (coast live, canyon live, and interior live).
In addition, this kind of ecosystem has better soil moisture availability, allowing it to
produce more herbaceous undergrowth than chaparral. These oak and conifer
dominated woodlands begin growth later than chaparral and continue growing later
• Directions: Use the resources below, in addition to any additional research you do to answer
the questions below.
̶ Chaparral biome
▪ Video: The Chaparral Ecosystem
▪ Article: Fire in Chaparral Ecosystems
▪ Video: Fire in Southern CA Chaparral
▪ (Video: The Magic of the Chaparral)
̶ Oak Woodlands
▪ Video: Oak Woodland Biome
▪ Article: North American Oak Woodland
Q1) Provide at least three characteristics of the chaparral biome.
Q2) Provide at least three characteristics of the oak woodlands biome.
Q3) Fire is a natural disturbance in the chaparral and oak woodland biomes. Describe the
significance of fire in these ecosystems.
Q4) Where else in the world besides California can the chaparral biome be found?