Semi-desert Shrublands Ecological Zone

Located to the west of the Rocky Mountains, the semi-desert scrub vegetation zone ranges in elevation from 4,000 to 6,500 feet. This is the most arid region in the state, though sections of the plains are comparable, receiving, on average, five to 14 inches of precipitation per year. The southwestern part of this zone does sometimes benefit from the heavy summer rains associated with monsoon season.

Soils in this region tend to be highly alkaline.

As in the plains region, the vast majority of vegetation in this zone boast strong drought tolerance. Although, like the foothills, this region is marked by shrub communities, the shrubs in this zone tend to have be able to survive on much lower amounts of precipitation than those in the foothills.

Notably, this zone is marked by deep-rooted Artemesia (sage brush) and Altriplex (Salt bush) communities. Blue grama is also commonly found on the region’s grasslands. Pinyon and Juniper communities tend to predominate in areas of this zone that receive between 12 to 14 inches of precipitation per year.

Located to the west of the Rocky Mountains, the semi-desert scrub vegetation zone ranges in elevation from 4,000 to 6,500 feet. This is the most arid region in the state, though sections of the plains are comparable, receiving, on average, five to 14 inches of precipitation per year. The southwestern part of this zone does sometimes benefit from the heavy summer rains associated with monsoon season.

Soils in this region tend to be highly alkaline.

As in the plains region, the vast majority of vegetation in this zone boast strong drought tolerance. Although, like the foothills, this region is marked by shrub communities, the shrubs in this zone tend to have be able to survive on much lower amounts of precipitation than those in the foothills.

Notably, this zone is marked by deep-rooted Artemesia (sage brush) and Altriplex (Salt bush) communities. Blue grama is also commonly found on the region’s grasslands. Pinyon and Juniper communities tend to predominate in areas of this zone that receive between 12 to 14 inches of precipitation per year.

-John Sciarcon

a photo of a golden-colored grassland surounded by juniper trees with a dark hillside in the background.

Some Interesting and Important Semi-desert Shrubland Plant Communities

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Plants of the Semi-desert Shrublands Region

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Rare Plants

Common Plants