Chapter

The Modern Environment, Flora, and Vegetation of South Park, Colorado

David J. Cooper

in Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240827
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930858 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240827.003.0003
The Modern Environment, Flora, and Vegetation of South Park, Colorado

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South Park is one of the four large intermountain basins that characterize the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This chapter discusses the landscape, climate, flora, and vegetation of South Park, which features large regional variation in elevation and an assortment of bedrock types. Well-developed alpine tundra occurs on the highest mountains, and tundra plants are highly specific to substrate chemistry, with different plant species and distinctive plant communities occurring on acid and alkaline soils. Numerous forest types, dominated by evergreen and deciduous trees, occur on mountain slopes. The floor of South Park supports four principal natural environments: (1) grasslands on dry terraces, slopes, and hills with deep water tables; (2) streams and their floodplains; (3) wetlands fed by groundwater; and (4) salt flats.

Keywords: South Park; Rocky Mountains; alpine tundra; tundra; grasslands; streams; floodplains; wetlands; salt flats

Chapter.  6640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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