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California Chaparral Institute

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Title: California Chaparral Institute  
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Subject: Chaparral, California chaparral and woodlands, Cedar Fire, Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889
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California Chaparral Institute


The California Chaparral Institute is a nonprofit California corporation based in Escondido, California.[1] It is composed of naturalists, scientists, wildland firefighters, and educators who value the chaparral as both a valuable resource and a place to enjoy the wilderness. It was founded by Richard Halsey and aims to protect the Southern California chaparral ecosystem through public education[2] and legal action.[3] In particular, the group is known for opposing plans to clear native trees and brush from wild areas, or at least to require an environmental review before doing so. They have also lobbied for more funding and more staffing for fighting wildfires.[1]

In June 2010 they filed suit against an "emergency" plant clearing project by San Diego County,[4] and a San Diego Superior Court judge agreed that the county should conduct an environmental review first.[5] They have also objected to similar plans by the U.S. Forest Service to trim or remove native plants in the Cleveland National Forest[6] and the Los Padres National Forest.[7] They argue that removing chaparral, through clearance or controlled burns, promotes the invasive growth of non-native plants which are even more of a fire hazard.[8] They have expressed concern that the combination of brush clearance and massive wildfires could eliminate most California chaparral within a century.[9]

In April 2010 they came to the defense of a man who was threatened with losing his home over his refusal to clear weeds and brush from his property.[10] They have proposed, unsuccessfully, that residential building be prohibited in the most fire-prone areas.[11]

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