Vegetation Community 

Forest woodland grassland scrubland desert scrubland marshland other

Primary On-Site, Secondary On-Site, Surrounding Site
a. Life Zone

Arctic-Alpine (A)

Hudsonian (B)

Canadian(C)

Transitional (D)

Upper Sonoran (E)

Lower Sonoran (F)

b. Community

Aspen (A)

Spruce-Fir (B)

Douglas Fir (C)

Alpine Tundra (D)

Ponderosa Pine (E)

Lodgepole Pine (F)

Other/Mixed Conifer (G)

Piñon-Juniper Woodland (H)

Wet Meadow (I)

Dry Meadow (J)

Oak-Maple Shrub (K)

Riparian (L)

Grassland/Steppe (M)

Desert Lake Shore (N)

Shadscale Community (O)

Tall Sagebrush (P)

Low Sagebrush (Q)

Barren (R)

March/Swamp (S)

Lake/Reservoir (T)

Agricultural (U)

Blackbrush (V)

Creosote Bush (Y)

Forest and Woodland http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?init=Ecol

CES304.767
Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT

CES305.795
Madrean Encinal
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES305.796
Madrean Pine-Oak Forest and Woodland
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES305.797
Madrean Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES305.798
Madrean Upper Montane Conifer-Oak Forest and Woodland
USA:  AZ, NM

CES306.813
Rocky Mountain Aspen Forest and Woodland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY

CES306.814
Rocky Mountain Bigtooth Maple Ravine Woodland
USA:  ID, NM, TX, UT

CES306.828
Rocky Mountain Subalpine Dry-Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.830
Rocky Mountain Subalpine Mesic Spruce-Fir Forest and Woodland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.819
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Limber-Bristlecone Pine Woodland
USA:  CO, IDpotentially occurs, MTpotentially occurs, NM, NV, ORpotentially occurs, UT, WApotentially occurs, WY

CES306.825
Southern Rocky Mountain Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest and Woodland
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, NM, NV, ORpotentially occurs, UT, WY

CES306.835
Southern Rocky Mountain Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
USA:  CO, NM

CES306.032
Southern Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Woodland
USA:  AZ, CO, IDpotentially occurs, MT, ND, NEpotentially occurs, NM, NV, SD, UT, WY
Shrubland

CES302.733
Apacherian-Chihuahuan Mesquite Upland Scrub
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.731
Chihuahuan Creosotebush Xeric Basin Desert Scrub
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.734
Chihuahuan Mixed Desert and Thorn Scrub
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.017
Chihuahuan Mixed Salt Desert Scrub
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.737
Chihuahuan Stabilized Coppice Dune and Sand Flat Scrub
USA:  NM, TX

CES302.738
Chihuahuan Succulent Desert Scrub
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.031
Coahuilan Chaparral
USA:  NM, TXpotentially occurs
Shrubland

CES304.763
Colorado Plateau Blackbrush-Mormon-tea Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT

CES304.762
Colorado Plateau Mixed Low Sagebrush Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT

CES304.766
Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT

CES304.783
Inter-Mountain Basins Mat Saltbush Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY

CES304.784
Inter-Mountain Basins Mixed Salt Desert Scrub
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES302.741
Mogollon Chaparral
USA:  AZ, CApotentially occurs, NM, NV, UT

CES306.810
Rocky Mountain Alpine Dwarf-Shrubland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.818
Rocky Mountain Gambel Oak-Mixed Montane Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY

CES306.822
Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Shrubland
USA:  CO, MT, NEpotentially occurs, NM, SD, WY

CES304.793
Southern Colorado Plateau Sand Shrubland
USA:  AZ, COpotentially occurs, NMpotentially occurs, UT

CES303.668
Western Great Plains Mesquite Woodland and Shrubland
USA:  NM, OK, TX
Steppe/Savanna

CES302.735
Apacherian-Chihuahuan Semi-Desert Grassland and Steppe
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.732
Chihuahuan Gypsophilous Grassland and Steppe
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES304.782
Inter-Mountain Basins Juniper Savanna
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WY

CES304.785
Inter-Mountain Basins Montane Sagebrush Steppe
CAN:  BC
USA:  AZpotentially occurs, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES304.788
Inter-Mountain Basins Semi-Desert Shrub-Steppe
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MTpotentially occurs, NM, NV, OR, UT, WY

CES301.730
Madrean Juniper Savanna
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES306.834
Southern Rocky Mountain Juniper Woodland and Savanna
USA:  CO, NM

CES306.826
Southern Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pine Savanna
USA:  AZ, CO, NE, NM, NV, SD, UT, WY
Herbaceous

CES302.736
Chihuahuan Sandy Plains Semi-Desert Grassland
USA:  AZ, NM, TX
Herbaceous

CES304.787
Inter-Mountain Basins Semi-Desert Grassland
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MTpotentially occurs, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.811
Rocky Mountain Alpine Fell-Field
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.816
Rocky Mountain Dry Tundra
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.829
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Mesic Meadow
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.824
Southern Rocky Mountain Montane-Subalpine Grassland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY

CES303.817
Western Great Plains Foothill and Piedmont Grassland
USA:  AZpotentially occurs, CO, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY

CES303.670
Western Great Plains Sand Prairie
USA:  CO, KS, MT, ND, NE, NMpotentially occurs, OK, SD, TXpotentially occurs, WY

CES303.672
Western Great Plains Shortgrass Prairie
USA:  CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, TX, WY
Woody Wetland

CES302.748
North American Warm Desert Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.752
North American Warm Desert Riparian Mesquite Bosque
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.753
North American Warm Desert Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.755
North American Warm Desert Wash
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES306.821
Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WY

CES306.832
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY

CES306.833
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Woodland
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Herbaceous Wetland

CES300.729
North American Arid West Emergent Marsh
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY

CES302.747
North American Warm Desert Cienega
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.039
North American Warm Desert Interdunal Swale Wetland
USA:  NM, TX

CES306.812
Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY

CES303.666
Western Great Plains Closed Depression Wetland
USA:  CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY
Herbaceous Wetland

CES303.669
Western Great Plains Saline Depression Wetland
USA:  CO, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY
Mixed Upland and Wetland

CES302.746
Chihuahuan-Sonoran Desert Bottomland and Swale Grassland
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES304.780
Inter-Mountain Basins Greasewood Flat
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES303.956
Western Great Plains Riparian Woodland and Shrubland
USA:  CO, MT, NM, TXpotentially occurs, WY
Barren

CES304.765
Colorado Plateau Mixed Bedrock Canyon and Tableland
USA:  AZ, CO, NM, UT

CES304.775
Inter-Mountain Basins Active and Stabilized Dune
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES304.786
Inter-Mountain Basins Playa
USA:  CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WApotentially occurs, WY

CES304.789
Inter-Mountain Basins Shale Badland
USA:  AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY

CES304.791
Inter-Mountain Basins Volcanic Rock and Cinder Land
USA:  AZ, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT

CES302.744
North American Warm Desert Active and Stabilized Dune
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.743
North American Warm Desert Badland
USA:  AZ, NM, TX

CES302.745
North American Warm Desert Bedrock Cliff and Outcrop
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.750
North American Warm Desert Pavement
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.751
North American Warm Desert Playa
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES302.754
North American Warm Desert Volcanic Rockland
USA:  AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX

CES306.809
Rocky Mountain Alpine Bedrock and Scree
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

CES306.815
Rocky Mountain Cliff, Canyon and Massive Bedrock
CAN:  AB, BC
USA:  AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

CES303.665
Western Great Plains Cliff and Outcrop
CAN:  MB
USA:  CO, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, TX
Classification
Scientific Name: Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
Unique Identifier: CES304.767
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system occurs in dry mountains and foothills of the Colorado Plateau region including the Western Slope of Colorado to the Wasatch Range, south to the Mogollon Rim and east into the northwestern corner of New Mexico. It is typically found at lower elevations ranging from 1500-2440 m. These woodlands occur on warm, dry sites on mountain slopes, mesas, plateaus, and ridges. Severe climatic events occurring during the growing season, such as frosts and drought, are thought to limit the distribution of pinyon-juniper woodlands to relatively narrow altitudinal belts on mountainsides. Soils supporting this system vary in texture ranging from stony, cobbly, gravelly sandy loams to clay loam or clay. Pinus edulis and/or Juniperus osteosperma dominate the tree canopy. In the southern portion of the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico, Juniperus monosperma and hybrids of Juniperus spp may dominate or codominate the tree canopy. Juniperus scopulorum may codominate or replace Juniperus osteosperma at higher elevations. Understory layers are variable and may be dominated by shrubs, graminoids, or be absent. Associated species include Arctostaphylos patula, Artemisia tridentata, Cercocarpus intricatus, Cercocarpus montanus, Coleogyne ramosissima, Purshia stansburiana, Purshia tridentata, Quercus gambelii, Bouteloua gracilis, Pleuraphis jamesii, or Poa fendleriana. This system occurs at higher elevations than Great Basin Pinyon-Juniper Woodland (CES304.773) and Colorado Plateau shrubland systems where sympatric.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES304.766 Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Shrubland
CES304.773 Great Basin Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
CES304.782 Inter-Mountain Basins Juniper Savanna


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000703 Juniperus monosperma / Agave lechuguilla Woodland
CEGL000704 Juniperus monosperma / Andropogon hallii Woodland
CEGL000705 Juniperus monosperma / Artemisia bigelovii Woodland
CEGL000706 Juniperus monosperma / Artemisia tridentata Woodland
CEGL000707 Juniperus monosperma / Atriplex confertifolia / Achnatherum hymenoides Woodland
CEGL000708 Juniperus monosperma / Bouteloua curtipendula Woodland
CEGL000709 Juniperus monosperma / Bouteloua eriopoda Woodland
CEGL000710 Juniperus monosperma / Bouteloua gracilis Woodland
CEGL000711 Juniperus monosperma / Bouteloua hirsuta Woodland
CEGL000712 Juniperus monosperma / Krascheninnikovia lanata Woodland
CEGL000713 Juniperus monosperma / Cercocarpus montanus Woodland
CEGL000714 Juniperus monosperma / Cercocarpus montanus - Ribes cereum Woodland
CEGL000715 Juniperus monosperma / Ericameria nauseosa - Fallugia paradoxa Woodland
CEGL000716 Juniperus monosperma / Fallugia paradoxa / Xanthoparmelia neoconspersa Woodland
CEGL000718 Juniperus monosperma / Nolina microcarpa - Agave lechuguilla Woodland
CEGL000720 Juniperus monosperma / Quercus turbinella Woodland
CEGL000721 Juniperus monosperma / Quercus X pauciloba Woodland
CEGL000722 Juniperus monosperma / Hesperostipa neomexicana Woodland
CEGL000727 Juniperus osteosperma Woodland
CEGL000728 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia nova Woodland
CEGL000729 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia nova / Rock Woodland
CEGL000730 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis Woodland
CEGL000731 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia tridentata / Achnatherum hymenoides Woodland
CEGL000732 Juniperus osteosperma / Sparse Understory Woodland
CEGL000733 Juniperus osteosperma / Cercocarpus intricatus Woodland
CEGL000734 Juniperus osteosperma / Cercocarpus ledifolius Woodland
CEGL000735 Juniperus osteosperma / Cercocarpus montanus Woodland
CEGL000736 Juniperus osteosperma / Pleuraphis mutica Woodland
CEGL000737 Juniperus osteosperma - Juniperus monosperma / Sparse Understory Woodland
CEGL000738 Juniperus osteosperma / Pseudoroegneria spicata Woodland
CEGL000740 Juniperus osteosperma / Hesperostipa neomexicana Woodland
CEGL000741 Juniperus osteosperma / Symphoricarpos oreophilus Woodland
CEGL000774 Pinus edulis / Andropogon hallii Woodland
CEGL000775 Pinus edulis / Arctostaphylos pungens Woodland
CEGL000776 Pinus edulis - Juniperus spp. / Artemisia tridentata (ssp. wyomingensis, ssp. vaseyana) Woodland
CEGL000777 Pinus edulis / Bouteloua curtipendula Woodland
CEGL000778 Pinus edulis - (Juniperus osteosperma) / Bouteloua gracilis Woodland
CEGL000779 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Cercocarpus intricatus Woodland
CEGL000780 Pinus edulis - Juniperus spp. / Cercocarpus montanus - Mixed Shrub Woodland
CEGL000781 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Coleogyne ramosissima Woodland
CEGL000782 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Purshia stansburiana Woodland
CEGL000783 Pinus edulis / Festuca arizonica Woodland
CEGL000785 Pinus edulis / Muhlenbergia pauciflora Woodland
CEGL000786 Pinus edulis / Nolina microcarpa Woodland
CEGL000787 Pinus edulis - Juniperus spp. / Poa fendleriana Woodland
CEGL000788 Pinus edulis / Pseudoroegneria spicata Woodland
CEGL000789 Pinus edulis / Purshia tridentata Woodland
CEGL000790 Pinus edulis - Quercus arizonica / Rhus trilobata Woodland
CEGL000791 Pinus edulis - Juniperus spp. / Quercus gambelii Woodland
CEGL000793 Pinus edulis / Quercus X pauciloba Woodland
CEGL000794 Pinus edulis / Rockland Woodland
CEGL000795 Pinus edulis / Sparse Understory Forest
CEGL000796 Pinus edulis / Achnatherum nelsonii ssp. dorei Woodland
CEGL000797 Pinus edulis - (Juniperus monosperma, Juniperus osteosperma) / Hesperostipa comata Woodland
CEGL000798 Pinus edulis / Achnatherum scribneri Woodland
CEGL001488 Juniperus osteosperma / Leymus salinus ssp. salmonis Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
CEGL001489 Juniperus osteosperma / Hesperostipa comata Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
CEGL002118 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia bigelovii Woodland
CEGL002121 Juniperus monosperma - Rhus trilobata / Schizachyrium scoparium Woodland
CEGL002148 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Sparse Understory Woodland
CEGL002151 Pinus edulis - (Juniperus monosperma) / Bouteloua gracilis Woodland
CEGL002266 Juniperus osteosperma / Mixed Shrubs Talus Woodland
CEGL002328 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Mixed Shrubs Talus Woodland
CEGL002329 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Amelanchier utahensis Woodland
CEGL002331 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia nova Woodland
CEGL002332 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Petradoria pumila Woodland
CEGL002335 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Shepherdia rotundifolia Woodland
CEGL002340 Pinus edulis - Juniperus spp. / Leymus salinus Woodland
CEGL002360 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata Woodland
CEGL002361 Juniperus osteosperma / Bouteloua gracilis Woodland
CEGL002362 Juniperus osteosperma / Pleuraphis jamesii Woodland
CEGL002364 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Achnatherum hymenoides Woodland
CEGL002365 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia pygmaea Woodland
CEGL002366 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Atriplex spp. Woodland [Provisional]
CEGL002367 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Bromus tectorum Semi-natural Woodland
CEGL002368 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Psathyrostachys juncea Semi-natural Woodland
CEGL002369 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Ephedra torreyana - Artemisia bigelovii Woodland
CEGL002370 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Ephedra viridis Woodland
CEGL002371 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Hesperostipa neomexicana Woodland
CEGL002374 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Opuntia fragilis Woodland
CEGL002375 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Cushion Plant Woodland
CEGL002379 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Pleuraphis jamesii Woodland
CEGL002497 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Quercus havardii var. tuckeri Woodland
CEGL002757 Juniperus osteosperma / Artemisia arbuscula Woodland
CEGL002815 Juniperus osteosperma / Hesperostipa comata Woodland
CEGL002817 Juniperus osteosperma / Bromus tectorum Semi-natural Woodland
CEGL002909 Juniperus osteosperma / Coleogyne ramosissima Woodland [Provisional]
CEGL002939 Pinus edulis - Juniperus osteosperma / Arctostaphylos patula Woodland
CEGL002964 Juniperus osteosperma Wooded Shrubland [Placeholder]
CEGL003109 Juniperus osteosperma / Leymus salinus Woodland

Comprehensive Report Ecological System - Colorado Plateau Pinyon-Juniper Woodland

Figure 2.2 Provinces of Arizona and New Mexico; sections within provinces are delimited with solid lines; National Forests are indicated by solid fill pattern.province

Figure 2.3 Life zones of Arizona and New Mexico as characterized by biotic communities.biotic communities map

LIFE ZONES OF THE SOUTHWEST

The General Ecosystem Survey (Carleton et al. 1991) groups Southwestern ecosystems into life zones characterized by biotic community types including desert, grassland, chaparral, evergreen oak woodland, coniferous woodland, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, spruce–fir, tundra, and riparian wetlands. Because this an assessment of forest, woodland, and associated riparian ecosystems, desert, grassland, chaparral, and tundra life zones are excluded from further discussion. The concept of a life zone is derived from a taxonomic classification system described first by Merriam (1898), revised by UNESCO (1973), and applied in the Southwest by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Survey. The General Ecosystem Survey life zones (Table 2.2) can be cross-referenced to the biotic communities described by Brown and Lowe (1977, 1980) and Brown (1994). Aspen is a component of the montane forest found mostly in the mixed conifer zone but also in the ponderosa pine and the spruce–fir zones. Riparian wetlands occupy little area but like aspen perform special and very important ecological and landscape functions within their life zone. Because of their uniqueness and value, aspen and riparian wetlands are treated here along with evergreen oak and coniferous woodlands, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and spruce–fir forests as forest biotic communities of the Southwest (Figure 2.3).


Table 2.2 Correspondence between General Ecosystem Survey Life Zones and Southwestern Biotic Communities.
Life Zone Biotic Community
Evergreen oak woodland Madrean evergreen woodland
Coniferous woodland Great Basin conifer woodland
Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer Rocky Mountain/Madrean montane coniferous forest
Spruce-fir Rocky Mountain subalpine coniferous forest.
Life zones defined by Carleton et al. (1991); biotic communities described by Brown and Lowe (1977, 1980) and Brown (1994).

A specific ecosystem can be located with reference to a geographic province; and if it is defined by the dominant vegetation, it can also be associated with other ecosystems of similar biotic composition (life zone). Whereas the province scale is the correct perspective for examining landscape dynamics, the life zone is the appropriate scale for describing aspects of community development such as disturbance regime and successional pattern. Every ecosystem is a unique entity with its own particular history, composition, structure, and potential. Although ecosystems of a common life zone tend to respond in similar ways, each is different. Some of this difference can be explained by location within a landscape and province. Because most of the available information for past and current ecosystems is cataloged or identified by life zone, this assessment primarily describes Southwestern ecosystems by life zone and notes differences by province where they are known.

 

Evergreen Oak and Coniferous Woodlands

Woodlands generally include evergreen oak and conifer species that occupy certain areas along an elevational gradient from low-elevation desert shrub/grasslands and short-grass prairies to high-elevation montane coniferous forests of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. Oak woodlands occur within the range of 4,000– to 9,000–feet elevation. Gambel oak occurs at higher elevations, and wavyleaf oak (Quercus undulata) occurs either below Gambel oak or intermingled with it in a transition zone. Woodlands were used extensively by prehistoric and historic populations for habitation and subsistence. Uses today include grazing, fuelwood harvest, and recreation.

Evergreen oak woodland, characterized by wet summers and mild winters, extends from the Sierra Madre of Mexico into southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. In the United States, a variety of oak species such as Emory oak (Quercus emoryi), Arizona white oak (Q. arizonica), Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia), gray oak (Q. grisea), silverleaf oak (Q. hypoleucoides), and netleaf oak (Q. rugosa) are found in conjunction with the following Madrean pine species–Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii), Chihuahua pine (P. leiophylla var. chihuahuana), and Arizona pine (P. arizonica) (Brown 1994).

Pinyons and junipers, together or alone, dominate coniferous woodland communities. These woodlands occupy approximately 23 million acres in New Mexico, about 13 percent of which are on national forest lands, and 4.1 million acres in Arizona, 34 percent on national forest lands. The pinyons include Pinus edulis, the most common pinyon pine throughout the type, border pinyon (P. discolor), and Arizona singleleaf pinyon (P. californarium subsp. fallax). Junipers are frequently found at lower elevations than pinyons and typically occupy sites with deep soils. The most common junipers in the Southwest are one-seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) found in central and southern New Mexico and much of Arizona below the Mogollon Rim, the Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopulorum) in the higher and colder woodlands of northern New Mexico and Arizona, Utah juniper (J. osteosperma) in northwestern New Mexico and northern Arizona, and alligator juniper (J. deppeana) associated with the Madrean woodlands of southern Arizona and New Mexico (Brown 1994, Gottfried 1992).

 

Ponderosa Pine

Ponderosa pine (yellow pine or blackjack pine) is found from 6,500 to 8,000 feet elevation. At lower elevations, the ponderosa pine forest meets woodlands and at higher elevations transitions into the mixed conifer zone. Ponderosa pine forests of central and northern New Mexico and Arizona cover about 8.4 million acres. The predominant form throughout the Southwest is the three-needled, Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum). In lower elevations of southern Arizona, however, the five-needled, Arizona pine is more common. Other species associated with ponderosa pine at low elevations are Gambel oak and New Mexico locust (Robina neomexicana); at high elevations associates are southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis), Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca), Rocky Mountain white fir (Abies concolor var. concolor), and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) (Brown 1994). Uses include timber harvest, grazing, camping, and other types of recreation offering cool relief from hot urban areas.

 

Mixed Conifer

Mixed conifer forests dominated by Douglas-fir, white fir, and blue spruce (Picea pungens) occur at elevations from 8,000 to 9,500 feet. There are about 1.5 million acres of mixed conifer forest in the Rocky Mountain and Madrean montane forests of southern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico (Brown 1994). Ponderosa pine, southwestern white pine, aspen, and a number of other tree species may occur in these forests. Uses are similar to the ponderosa pine community.

 

Spruce–Fir

Spruce–fir forests are found at high, subalpine, elevations in the Southwest from approximately 8,000 feet to over 12,000 feet. Spruce–fir forests are typically restricted to areas receiving more than 25 inches of precipitation from winter snows and summer thunderstorms. The predominant spruce is Engelmann spruce which is found as far south as the Pinaleno Mountains in Arizona and the Sacramentos in New Mexico. The co-dominant species is subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa). Some populations of subalpine fir possess a distinctive outer cortex and are called corkbark fir (A. lasiocarpa var. arizonica). Small stands of aspen or blue spruce are found within the spruce–fir forest (Brown 1994). Uses include wilderness recreation, skiing, and the enjoyment of high places. Mountain peaks have special cultural and religious significance for many Southwestern Indian tribes.

 

Aspen

Quaking aspen occurs at elevations above 6,000 feet as small, transient patches in ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, or spruce–fir forests. There are close to 500,000 acres of aspen in the Southwest, seventy-five percent in northern New Mexico and the remainder in the Mogollon Rim-White Mountains of Arizona (Brown 1994). Aspens can reproduce by cloning from an established root system and establish a new stand of trees quickly after a fire or other disturbance. Aspens, however, are intolerant of shade and eventually lose out to competition when they become overtopped by re-invading conifers. Aspen stands are especially valued for their scenic quality and use by traditional communities.

 

Riparian Wetlands

Riparian wetlands including cienegas make up less than 2 percent of the land of New Mexico and Arizona, but they are the most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems in the Southwest. Over 65 percent of Southwestern animals depend on riparian habitats during all or part of their life cycles. Millions of Southwestern residents use these areas for recreation and agriculture. The most important species of Southwestern riparian wetlands are the Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and the narrowleaf cottonwood (P. augustifolia) (Brown 1994).

chapter 2