Like most of southern California, the majority of San Diego's current area was originally occupied by chaparral, a plant community made up mostly of drought-resistant shrubs. The endangered Torrey Pine has the bulk of its population in San Diego in a stretch of protected chapparral along the coast. The steep and varied topography, and proximity to the ocean creates a number of different habitats within the city limits, including tidal marsh and canyons. The influence of humans has altered existing habitats and has also created habitats that did not exist prior to human development, by construction of buildings, the introduction of new species, and the use of water for lawns and gardens. A number of species of parrots, including the Red-masked Parakeet and Red-crowned Amazon have established feral populations in urban neighborhoods such as Ocean Beach.
San Diego's broad city limits encompass a number of large nature preserves, including Torrey Pines State Reserve, Border Field State Park, Mission Trails Regional Park. Torrey Pines State Preserve and a coastal strip continuing to the north is the only location where the rare species of Torrey Pine, P. torreyana torreyana, is found. Due to a combination of the steep topography that prevents or discourages building, and some efforts for preservation, there are also a large number of canyons within the city limits that are nature preserves, including Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, and Marian Bear Memorial Park in the San Clemente Canyon, as well as a number of small parks and preserves.
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