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Classification
Scientific Name: Inter-Mountain Basins Cliff and Canyon
Unique Identifier: CES304.779
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system ranges from Wyoming and Utah west to the Pacific states. It is found from foothill to subalpine elevations and includes barren and sparsely vegetated landscapes (generally <10% plant cover) of steep cliff faces, narrow canyons, and smaller rock outcrops of various igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic bedrock types. Also included is vegetation of unstable scree and talus slopes that typically occurs below cliff faces. Widely scattered trees and shrubs may include Abies concolor, Pinus edulis, Pinus flexilis, Pinus monophylla, Juniperus spp., Artemisia tridentata, Purshia tridentata, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Ephedra spp., Holodiscus discolor, and other species often common in adjacent plant communities.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES304.765 Colorado Plateau Mixed Bedrock Canyon and Tableland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000733 Juniperus osteosperma / Cercocarpus intricatus Woodland
CEGL000829 Pinus monophylla - Juniperus osteosperma / Sparse Understory Woodland
CEGL001100 Glossopetalon spinescens var. aridum / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrubland
CEGL002347 Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus Talus Shrubland
CEGL002587 Cercocarpus intricatus Montane Shrubland
CEGL002745 Leymus salinus Shale Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002889 Crataegus rivularis Wet Shrubland
CEGL002972 Pinus ponderosa Slickrock Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002977 Cercocarpus intricatus Slickrock Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002978 Cercocarpus montanus Rock Pavement Sparse Vegetation



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Barren
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Cliff (Landform)  
Rock Outcrops/Barrens/Glades  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Montane Upper Montane
Montane Montane
Montane Lower Montane
Lowland Foothill
Lowland Lowland
Canyon  
Rockfall avalanche  
Ridge/Summit/Upper Slope  
Sideslope  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Sedimentary Rock  
Metamorphic Rock  
Igneous Rock  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Very Shallow Soil  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Lomatium tuberosum
  (Hoover's Desert-parsley)
G2G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Juniperus osteosperma G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus edulis G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus flexilis G4 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus monophylla G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus ponderosa G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Holodiscus discolor G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia tridentata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cercocarpus intricatus G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Cercocarpus ledifolius G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Purshia tridentata G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Glossopetalon spinescens var. aridum T5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Lomatium tuberosum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Aeronautes saxatalis
  (White-throated Swift)
G5      
Bassariscus astutus
  (Ringtail)
G5      
Euderma maculatum
  (Spotted Bat)
G4      
Neotoma cinerea
  (Bushy-tailed Woodrat)
G5      
Otospermophilus variegatus
  (Rock Squirrel)
G5      
Peromyscus crinitus
  (Canyon Deermouse)
G5      
Sceloporus occidentalis
  (Western Fence Lizard)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: CA, ID, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Range: This system ranges from Wyoming and Utah west to the Pacific states.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
304-Inter-Mountain Basins C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
4 Modoc Plateau and East Cascades Possible
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
1 Northern Cascades Confident or certain
6 Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Possible
7 Cascade Mountain Range Predicted or probable
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
10 Northwestern Rocky Mountains Predicted or probable
12 Western Great Basin Confident or certain
13 Death Valley Basin Confident or certain
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
17 Eastern Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Snake River Plain Predicted or probable
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Predicted or probable
22 Wyoming Basin Confident or certain
23 Colorado Plateau Possible
24 Navajo Plateau Possible
29 Wyoming Highlands Never was there

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 3173

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Apr2014
Element Description Author(s): NatureServe Western Ecology Team

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Barbour, M. G., T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr, editors. 2007a. Terrestrial vegetation of California, third edition. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Hess, K., and C. H. Wasser. 1982. Grassland, shrubland, and forest habitat types of the White River-Arapaho National Forest. Unpublished final report 53-82 FT-1-19. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. 335 pp.

  • Holland, V. L., and D. J. Keil. 1995. California vegetation. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, IA. 516 pp.

  • Knight, D. H. 1994. Mountains and plains: Ecology of Wyoming landscapes. Yale University Press, New Haven, MA. 338 pp.

  • Knight, D. H. 1999. Ponderosa and limber pine woodlands. Pages 249-261 in: R. C. Anderson, J. S. Fralish, and J. M. Baskin, editors. Savanna, barren, and rock outcrops plant communities of North America. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 470 plus ix pp.

  • NatureServe Explorer. 2011. Descriptions of ecological systems. Data current as of April 02, 2011. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. [http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/index.htm]

  • Noy-Meir, I. 1973. Desert ecosystems: Environment and producers. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4:25-51.

  • Reid, M. S., K. A. Schulz, P. J. Comer, M. H. Schindel, D. R. Culver, D. A. Sarr, and M. C. Damm. 1999. An alliance level classification of vegetation of the coterminous western United States. Unpublished final report to the University of Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and National Gap Analysis Program, in fulfillment of Cooperative Agreement 1434-HQ-97-AG-01779. The Nature Conservancy, Western Conservation Science Department, Boulder, CO.

  • Sala, O. E., W. J. Parton, L. A. Joyce, and W. K. Lauenroth. 1988. Primary production of the central grassland region of the United States. Ecology 69(1):40-45.

  • Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.


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Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Data last updated: November 2016