The mission of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is to protect shrubland ecosystems as an integral and beautiful feature of California’s natural landscape through land preservation and stewardship. The Conservancy was founded in 2009 by veteran San Diego environmental advocate David Hogan to advance the conservation of shrublands, related ecosystems, dependent plants and animals and especially endangered species through acquisition of land and/or management rights, habitat restoration and enhancement, stewardship, research, and education. Learn more →

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Old growth chaparral near Mount Laguna
Old growth chaparral near Mount Laguna, San Diego County, CA. Far from “decadent’ or “overgrown”, this area has never burned in recorded history, has few weeds, and supports a healthy diversity of plants and animals.

Not forests, not deserts — Chaparral. Many Californians who enjoy the outdoors are familiar with the beautiful Pacific Ocean and coast, shady mountain forests, and vast open deserts. But what about the more subtle, shrub-dominated landscape found in-between? From the coastal mesas and mountain foothills of the southern California and Northern Baja California to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains to Big Sur and Sonoma, chaparral-dominated shrublands form a sublime natural carpet of vegetation over rugged terrain.

Pygmy stonecrop growing out of living soil crust
Pygmy stonecrop growing out of living soil crust

Properly defined, chaparral is a semi-arid, association of woody shrub plants shaped by summer drought, mild, wet winters, and infrequent fires (with natural intervals between fires being 30 to 150 years plus). Chaparral lands are the closest natural neighbor to many of California’s densest population centers, and shrubland vegetation provides crucial (though often neglected) values for watershed protection, recreation, and wildlife. But proximity to people poses major threats and it is the mission of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy to protect and integrate the conservation of shrubland wildlife, plants, and endangered species with burgeoning nearby human communities.

“…seasoned Californians love the chaparral at all times of the year – when it is brown and rusty in late summer, as well as when the winter rains have brought out the greens of the different foliages. …there will be other things besides the growth of shrubs to amuse you. All day long you will have the alluring companionship and conversation of wren tits.”
Lester Rowntree, Pioneering California botanist, 1939

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