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Group Questions Plan To Remove Chapparal In Cleveland National Forest

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Aired 4/1/10

The California Chaparral Institute wants the U.S. Forest Service to change a plan that includes removing native shrubs to reduce wildfire risk.

— The California Chaparral Institute wants the U.S. Forest Service to change a plan that includes removing native shrubs to reduce wildfire risk.

One of the best kept secrets of the chaparral is its remarkable wildflowers. Pictured here is a Humboldt's Lily (Lilium humboldtii) found at the base of Viejas Mountain, San Diego County. A walk through the chaparral between January and May offers a nearby, peaceful alternative to visiting other, more distant wildflower display locations.
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Above: One of the best kept secrets of the chaparral is its remarkable wildflowers. Pictured here is a Humboldt's Lily (Lilium humboldtii) found at the base of Viejas Mountain, San Diego County. A walk through the chaparral between January and May offers a nearby, peaceful alternative to visiting other, more distant wildflower display locations.

The Institute doesn't like the Forest Service proposal to remove chapparal and other vegetation from 5,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest.

The Forest Service project would use prescribed fire, tree thinning and mechanical shredding of chaparral.

David Hogan is a Chapparal Institute board member.

He said removing vegetation within 100 feet of homes would be more effective.

"There really is no rational reason to go in and mechanically shred hundreds, if not thousands of acres of native chapparal vegetation," said Hogan.

He said the chapparal is important to sustain wildlife and for watershed management.

Hogan also believes removing chapparal could allow more highly-flammable and non-native weeds to take the shrubs place.

Marian Kadota with the U.S. Forest Service said the Institute's comments will be considered in formulating a final proposal.

She said the public will have a chance to comment on the final plan later this summer.

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