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Colorado Rockies Forests (WWF ecoregion NA0511) View National Geographic WildWorld profile,(WildWorld home), View  WWF Wildfinder animal species list (WildFinder home)

Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado
Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado (c) 2001 Maurice J. Kaurmann


Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 3 (bioregionally outstanding)
Elevational gradients produce dramatic vertical zonation of plants and animals, including life zones seen in other ecoregions further north.*
 Sangre de Christo Mts., Colorado.  Image (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 4 (relatively stable)
Logging, mining, oil and gas development, andrecreational-residential development are threats.  Downhill skiing resorts are a serious threat to alpine and subalpine areas and contribute to fragmentation.*

Characteristic species*
Pinus aristata (bristlecone pine)
 
Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine)
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

 

Associated habitats

pinyon - juniper


along Arkansas River near Canyon City, Colorado (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires

 

mountain park


When cool air settles in basins between mountains, treeless areas called "parks" develop.   Rt. 24 between Salida and Colorado Springs, Colorado (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires

 

low elevation forest


(left) Stream in Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado.  (right) Picea engelmannii (Englemann spruce) and Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine during winter in the foothills west of Ft. Collins, Colorado.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires

Wildflowers, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico
Wildflowers, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.   (c) 2005 Daniel P. Duran  hires

subalpine


(left) The subalpine zone consists primarily of conifers and aspens.   (right) Fall River Road, Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires

montaine forest, near Banff, Alberta montaine forest, near Banff, Alberta
continental divide, Hinsdale Co., CO (c) 2005 Daniel P. Duran   hires   hires

treeline


At high altitudes, conditions become to harsh for the survival of trees.  Treeline marks the boundary between the subalpine zone and the tundra.  (left) Treeline, Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado.  (center) Loveland Pass, Colorado in winter. (right) Treeline, Colorado.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires hires

 

alpine tundra


The severe conditions and short growing season in the alpine zone limit the species that are able to survive there.  The tundra is extremely fragile and disturbed areas remain for decades.  (left) Tundra, Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado. (center) Stunted conifers at their altitudinal range are called "krumholtz".  Rocky Mountain Ntl. Park, Colorado. (right) Pink algae growing in a patch of snow in the tundra.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires hires


Tundra wildflowers.  (c) 2004 Maurice J. Kaurmann  hires hires

Independence Pass, Colorado
Independence Pass, Colorado.   (c) 2005 Daniel P. Duran  hires

* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al.  (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment.  World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 254-256.

Except as noted, images copyright 2002-2004 Steve Baskauf - Terms of use