Extensive stands of Adenostoma fasciculatum H.&A. (chamise) in the chaparral of California are periodically rejuvenated by fire. A population model based on size-specific demographic characteristics (thinning and fire-caused mortality) was developed to generate probable age distributions within size classes and survivorship curves for typical stands. The model was modified to assess the long term effects of different mortality rates on age distributions. Under observed mean mortality rates (28.7%), model output suggests some shrubs can survive more than 23 fires. A 10% increase in mortality rate by size class slightly shortened the survivorship curve, while a 10% decrease in mortality rate by size class greatly elongated the curve. This approach may be applicable to other long-lived plant species with complex life histories.