Managing Chaparral Resources on Public Lands

  • Hugh D. Safford
  • Emma C. Underwood
  • Nicole A. Molinari
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


Southern California supports some of the highest biodiversity in the United States, but it also suffers from very heavy visitor use, a large influx of non-native species, high levels of air pollution, steep and erosive slopes, and the most unpredictable precipitation regime in the nation. Wildland vegetation in southern California is dominated by highly flammable shrublands like chaparral. As a result, public lands in southern California are exceptionally fire-prone. Annually they experience more economic and environmental damage from wildfire than any other part of the US. Management in southern California shrubland ecosystems has traditionally focused heavily on fire and fuels, but degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and hundreds of rare, threatened, and endangered species require a more holistic approach, especially with growing human populations and their needs for ecosystem services, and the developing threat of climate change. In this chapter we categorize the major management priorities on public lands in southern California and explore their inter-relationships. We also identify a suite of ecosystem services provided by chaparral landscapes, and we assess how current management priorities interact with and impact these services. Major tensions exist between certain management focus areas, especially recreation and fuel management, and other management priorities and the ecosystem services we assessed. We show how an ecosystem service-based approach to chaparral management can help to better elucidate and resolve conflicts in chaparral management.


Conservation Ecosystem services Fire Fuel management Recreation Restoration 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugh D. Safford
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emma C. Underwood
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nicole A. Molinari
    • 4
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest RegionVallejoUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  4. 4.USDA Forest Service, Los Padres National ForestGoletaUSA

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