Land Bird Conservation Plan Colorado  

Executive Summary
Overview of Colorado
Physiographic Region 36
Physiographic Region 62
Physiographic Region 87

  • Cliff/Rock
  • Lowland Riparian
  • Mountain Shrubland
  • Pinyon-Juniper
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Sagebrush Shrubland
  • Semidesert Shrubland
  • Wetlands

  • Implementation Strategies
    Literature Cited

    Physiographic Region 87: Colorado Plateau

    Mountain Shrubland

    Description and Ecology: The shrubs that form dominant stands in mountain shrubland are mountain mahogany, serviceberry, and/or Gambel oak. This habitat occurs from the upper limit of grasslands and pinyon-juniper up into the lower transition zone forests of mountain shrubland, Douglas-fir, and aspen, roughly 1700 to 2600 m (5,500-8,500 ft) in elevation. Other plants associated with mountain shrublands include snowberry, common chokecherry, skunkbrush, sumac, Ceanothus spp., elk sedge, and numerous grass and forb species. Big and silver sagebrush stands form mosaics with these other shrubs, especially on deeper, more level soils.

    Gambel oak vigorously re-sprouts from stem bases or from underground tubers and rhizomes following fire. It is extremely fire tolerant. Gambel oak can recover to original heights from a fire in 30 to 40 years. A healthy stand of Gambel oak contains shrubs of varying heights and has robust native bunchgrasses and forbs growing between them and relatively little bare ground.

    Importance and Conservation Status: This is an often-overlooked habitat type, perhaps because of its limited utilization by humans. Mountain shrubland is occasionally cleared to increase forage for livestock or big game, to the detriment of shrub-nesting bird species. Housing and associated development consume and fragment this habitat.

    Priority Species Accounts: Two species are identified as high priority in mountain shrubland habitats in Physiographic Area 87: Common Poorwill and Virginia's Warbler.

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