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Natural Ecosystems

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Part of the NCA Regional Input Reports book series (NCARIR)

Abstract

The Southwest’s high species richness of diverse groups of plants and animals (Kier et al. 2009) in part reflects the considerable geographic and seasonal variation in climate within the region (see Figure 4.1). For example, the difference in absolute minimum and maximum temperatures at a given location within a year can be as much as 113 F (45 C) in the interior of the Southwest and as little as 59°F (15°C) near the coast. High elevations in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains receive 39 inches to 79 inches (100 cm to 200 cm) of precipitation annually, whereas low elevations receive less than 4 inches (10 cm).

Keywords

  • Bark Beetle
  • Burned Area
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Creosote Bush
  • Nonnative Plant

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Chapter citation: Fleishman, E., J. Belnap, N. Cobb, C. A. F. Enquist, K. Ford, G. MacDonald, M. Pellant, T. Schoennagel, L. M. Schmit, M. Schwartz, S. van Drunick, A. L. Westerling, A. Keyser, and R. Lucas. 2013. “Natural Ecosystems.” In Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States: A Report Prepared for the National Climate Assessment, edited by G. Garfin, A. Jardine, R. Merideth, M. Black, and S. LeRoy, 148–167. A report by the Southwest Climate Alliance. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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Figure 8.1
Figure 8.2

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  1. i

    The ecological systems were grouped into nine land-cover classes (alpine tundra; wetland, riparian, or playa; shrubland; sparsely vegetated or barren; forest; grassland or prairie; open water; developed or agriculture; and disturbed land).

  2. ii

    Located near Gothic, Colorado, at an elevation of around 9,500 feet (2,900 meters).

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Fleishman, E. et al. (2013). Natural Ecosystems. In: Garfin, G., Jardine, A., Merideth, R., Black, M., LeRoy, S. (eds) Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States. NCA Regional Input Reports. Island Press, Washington, DC. https://doi.org/10.5822/978-1-61091-484-0_8

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