Coastal Sage Scrub

Coastal sage scrub, also referred to as soft chaparral, occurs primarily in dry but foggy areas along the coastal zone and inland areas where the marine layer reaches into the foothills and canyons. Average precipitation throughout the range is 25 cm (10 inches) but varies widely from year to year. Shrubs reach an average height of two meters and are often aromatic due to secondary leaf compounds that reduce herbivory. These shallow-rooted species are capable of capturing water from light rain and fog events and some species respond to summer drought by losing their leaves (drought deciduous). Unlike chaparral species, coastal sage scrub plants are not adapted to frequent fire and can easily degrade to non-native annual grasslands. These plant communities support a wide variety of insects and birds, including the state endangered Belding's Savannah Sparrow and the Coastal California Gnatcatcher.