California Chaparral & Woodlands | WWF

California Chaparral & Woodlands

About the Area

California coastal sage, or chaparral, is one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America, and one of only five Mediterranean shrublands, which together, harbour 20% of the Earth's plant species.
This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: California coastal sage and chaparral; California interior chaparral and woodlands; California montane chaparral and woodlands.

Local Species
Species include the endangered California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica), Costa's hummingbird (Calypte costae), Coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum), and Rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata). Other animals found here are the endangered Heermann kangaroo rat (Dipodomys heermani), Santa Cruz kangaroo rat (Dipodomys venustus), and White-eared pocket mouse (Perognathus alticolus).

The flora of this ecoregion includes tree species such as Gray or foothill pine (Pinus sabiniana), Scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), California buckeye (Aesculus californica), the rare Gowen cypress (Cupressus goveniana), the rare Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), and a wealth of endemic plant species, including the extremely rare San Gabriel Mountain liveforever (Dudlea densiflora), Catalina mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae), and the threatened most beautiful jewel-flower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. Peramoenus).

Threats involve the establishment of exotic species, overgrazing by cattle, and disruption of the natural fire regime.


121,000 sq. km (47,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub

Geographic Location:
Southwestern North America: Mexico and the United States

Conservation Status:

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