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Chaparral Biome: Definition & Locations

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  • 0:00 Definition of a…
  • 0:39 Locations of Chaparral Biomes
  • 2:24 Plants and Animals in…
  • 2:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Our world is composed of numerous biomes. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at the chaparral biome to gain an understanding of what makes up this dynamic and unique part of our planet.

Definition of a Chaparral Biome

A biome is a naturally occurring community of plants and wildlife that occupy a particular habitat. Chaparral biomes are composed of a variety of different types of terrain including plains, rocky hills, and mountain slopes.

The climate of the chaparral biome can be characterized as hot and dry in the summer, with temperatures steadily reaching 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and mild in the winter, with temperatures remaining at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions make the chaparral very susceptible to droughts and wildfires as the biome normally receives only 10-15 inches of rain per year.

Locations of Chaparral Biomes

The chaparral biome is found in small sections of most continents, including the West coast of the United States, the West coast of South America, the Cape Town area of South Africa, the Western tip of Australia and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean.

In the United States, the chaparral biome can be found in the Santa Barbara area of California. The Los Padres National Forest and Channel Islands National Parks are areas found near Santa Barbara that have been set aside to preserve the Chaparral biomes and to allow the public to explore them.

The rocky coastal areas of Chile in South America are considered to be a chaparral biome. They are inhabited by Chilean deer as well as other small mammals who have adapted to live in the dry hot climate composed mostly of scrub bushes.

A great portion of southern South Africa is chaparral biome. It is home to many unique plants found nowhere else in the world - such as the Protea plant - that have adapted to live in the dry, arid climate that is frequented by wildfires.

If you close your eyes and envision the wild Australian outback, you may see a rocky semi-mountainous region dotted with small bushes and several species of grasses. This is a classic example of a chaparral biome. One unique inhabitant of the chaparral biome in Australia is the great gray kangaroo. It has evolved to successfully live by feeding on the small shrubs and grasses that grow there.

Coastal areas along the Mediterranean are also considered chaparral biomes. These arid areas are mostly composed of rocky mountainsides that are sparsely populated with shrubs and grasses as well as small mammals that are suited to live in the area. In this part of the world the biome is often referred to as the Mediterranean scrub.

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