© Mike Norton (Colorado)

Ecosystems and Habitats in Colorado

Ecological Systems of Colorado

Ecological systems are dynamic assemblages or complexes of plant and/or animal communities that 

  1. occur together on the landscape;
  2. are tied together by similar ecological processes, underlying abiotic environmental factors or gradients; and
  3. form a readily identifiable unit on the ground. 

The descriptions and summarized viability guidelines presented on the Colorado Natural Heritage Program's website are intended to serve as a tool for conservation and management planning by providing a context for conservation and management (i.e., what systems do we have in Colorado), and by providing easy access to ranking and evaluation criteria for key ecological attributes of each system (i.e., what is the condition of our systems).

The descriptions, details, and viability guidelines of Colorado Ecological Systems are based on materials compiled by NatureServe or developed by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

More about Colorado's Ecosystems and Habitats

  • Ecosystems 101 for Colorado

    Colorado is home to approximately 60 ecological systems. These cover the entire elevational gradient across our state, from flat and rolling prairies in the east, through foothills shrublands and woodlands, mountain forests and alpine tundra, to the canyon and sagebrush country in the west. Our rivers cut across all these gradients, starting as rushing streams in the highest mountains, and becoming wide, meandering rivers as they drop in elevation.

    Read More

  • Featured Ecosystems in Colorado

    Colorado is well known for the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, but what many don't realize is that nearly 40% of the state isn't mountainous at all.

    Read More

  • Conserving Ecosystems and Habitats in Colorado

    Learn about efforts to protect and restore ecological systems and habitats across the state.

    Read More

Quick Facts

Colorado Natural Heritage Program
Colorado State University, 8002 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-8002

Contact Information

Phone: (970) 491-1309
Fax: (970) 491-3349


Founded in: 1979

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