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Flora and Fauna

Most of the representative plant communities of the Colorado Plateau are present within the site's 2,500 m (~8,200 ft) elevational gradient. Lower elevations typically support mixed desert shrub communities on shallower soils, with patches of desert grassland on deeper soils.  Middle elevations support extensive piñon-juniper woodlands and sagebrush shrublands. Lower elevation montane sites feature mountain-shrub communities with pockets of Ponderosa pine on sandy sites. Higher montane sites support mosaics of mixed-conifer forests and aspen stands, with subalpine spruce-fir stands near the highest summits. Riparian woodland and shrubland communities line water courses through the terrestrial communities. Non-native cheatgrass and Russian thistle have invaded some patches of deeper soils while tamarisk is found in riparian areas.

Fauna of the region derive from hot deserts to the south the Great Basin to the north and west, and the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains to the east. The environmental heterogeneity of the Center's lands provides habitat for diverse invertebrate and vertebrate fauna.