Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1151132

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August/September 2019 9 Photos from left to right: Courtesy of Eric Edwards; Kerry Perkins; Rob Moore city of angels and energy. When the branches are burned, the burl gets the message to get busy, sending new growth up through the ashes. Many chaparral plants have burls like the Sumac. The fire cycle is an endless loop of burning and recovery. It only takes a couple of months for new growth to surface, then the plants will mature and eventually feed the next fire. Plants, insects, and animals of the chaparral absolutely depend on regular fires. After a fire, birds of prey can now find lizards, snakes, and rodents in the newly open ground, and deer have new vegetation to forage. One of my favorite stories of fire-dependence is that of the Fire Beetle. This beetle will only lay eggs on a recently singed branch! They gather in groups, sensing fire even miles away. Without wildfires, there is no mating. There are some native shrubs that need fire in order to release or trigger seeds; these plants are called pyrophytes. One example is Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa). The seeds of this shrub will lie on the ground and will not sprout until they feel the extreme heat of fire, even if they have to wait 100 years! In addition, many wildflower seeds require fire to germinate. In the spring following a fire, native chaparral wildflowers appear in amazing displays. Of these, only a few can be found at any other time. This means much of the native chaparral's most beautiful blooms are seen only rarely. Their seeds can lie dormant for 100 years, unseen by us. As the park was recovering, I felt as though nature had given my soul renewal as well. It's a wonderful spot to visit if you, too, are seeking balance. Above: Leo Carrillo State Park campground was unharmed (including the camp store), but vegetation burned on the hills around the campground. Left: A Black-Hooded Parakeet on a Sycamore tree; Right: A Manzanita.

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