NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
 
Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Classification
Scientific Name: Inter-Mountain Basins Active and Stabilized Dune
Unique Identifier: CES304.775
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate
Image 22113
© Denise Culver
Summary: This ecological system occurs in the Intermountain western U.S. on basins, valleys and plains. Often it is composed of a mosaic of migrating, bare dunes; anchored dunes with sparse to moderately dense vegetation (<10-30% canopy cover); and stabilized dunes. The system is defined by the presence of migrating dunes or, where the dunes are entirely anchored or stabilized, evidence that the substrate is eolian and not residual, that the vegetation is early- or mid-seral, and that the substrate is likely to become actively migrating again with disturbance or increased aridity. In the Colorado Plateau, there are many small active and partially vegetated dunes along some of the larger washes and playas (where sand is blown out of wash and forms dunes) and some larger dunes such as Coral Pink Dunes in southwestern Utah. Substrates are usually eolian sand, but small dunes composed of silt and clay downwind from playas in the Wyoming Basins (which usually support greasewood vegetation) also are included here. Species occupying these environments are often adapted to shifting, coarse-textured substrates (usually quartz sand) and form patchy or open grasslands, shrublands or steppe, and occasionally woodlands. Vegetation varies and may be composed of Achnatherum hymenoides, Artemisia filifolia, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata, Atriplex canescens, Ephedra spp., Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Coleogyne ramosissima, Ericameria nauseosa, Hesperostipa comata, Leymus flavescens, Muhlenbergia pungens, Psoralidium lanceolatum, Purshia tridentata, Redfieldia flexuosa, Sporobolus airoides, Sarcobatus vermiculatus, Tetradymia tetrameres, or Tiquilia spp. Herbaceous species such as Achnatherum hymenoides, Redfieldia flexuosa, and Psoralidium lanceolatum are characteristic of early-seral vegetation through much of this system's range. Shrubs are commonly dominant on mid- to late-seral stands, and Ericameria nauseosa can be found at any stage.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Rules should be devised for deciding whether shrub or shrub-steppe vegetation on completely stabilized dunes should be considered part of this active and stabilized dune system, or part of another system. The areas include Inter-Mountain Basins Mixed Salt Desert Scrub (CES304.784), Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Shrubland (CES304.777), and Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Steppe (CES304.778) on sand, and Inter-Mountain Basins Greasewood Flat (CES304.780) on clay and silt.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES304.784 Inter-Mountain Basins Mixed Salt Desert Scrub
CES304.793 Southern Colorado Plateau Sand Shrubland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000179 Pinus ponderosa / Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis / Hesperostipa comata Woodland
CEGL001054 Purshia tridentata - Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata Shrubland
CEGL001056 Purshia tridentata - Ericameria nauseosa Shrubland
CEGL001058 Purshia tridentata / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001060 Purshia tridentata / Prunus virginiana Shrubland
CEGL001329 Ericameria nauseosa / Leymus flavescens / Psoralidium lanceolatum Shrubland
CEGL001353 Psorothamnus polydenius var. polydenius / Achnatherum hymenoides Shrubland
CEGL001364 Sarcobatus vermiculatus Dune Wet Shrubland
CEGL001490 Pinus ponderosa / (Ericameria nauseosa) / Achnatherum hymenoides Woodland
CEGL001563 Leymus flavescens Grassland
CEGL001650 Achnatherum hymenoides - Psoralidium lanceolatum Grassland
CEGL001652 Achnatherum hymenoides - Sporobolus contractus Grassland
CEGL001745 Elymus lanceolatus - Phacelia hastata Grassland
CEGL002352 Ephedra torreyana / Achnatherum hymenoides - Pleuraphis jamesii Shrubland
CEGL002354 Ephedra viridis / (Achnatherum hymenoides, Hesperostipa comata) Shrubland
CEGL002356 Ephedra viridis / Pleuraphis jamesii Shrubland
CEGL002363 Muhlenbergia pungens Grassland
CEGL002418 Poliomintha incana - Artemisia filifolia - Vanclevea stylosa Shrubland
CEGL002486 Quercus havardii var. tuckeri Shrubland
CEGL002643 Populus angustifolia Sand Dune Riparian Forest
CEGL002697 Artemisia filifolia Colorado Plateau Shrubland
CEGL002759 Tetradymia tetrameres Dune Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002786 Artemisia filifolia - Ephedra (torreyana, viridis) Shrubland
CEGL002822 Eriogonum leptocladon Sparse Vegetation
CEGL002917 Redfieldia flexuosa - (Psoralidium lanceolatum) Grassland
CEGL002980 Ericameria nauseosa Sand Deposit Sparse Shrubland
CEGL003828 Atriplex canescens - Ephedra viridis Shrubland
CEGL005261 Redbeds (Siltstone, Sandstone, Gypsum) Sparse Vegetation
CEGL005802 Ephedra torreyana - Achnatherum hymenoides Hummock Shrubland



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
Dune (Landform)  
Dune field  
Dune (Substrate)  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Sand Soil Texture  
Aridic  
W-Landscape/High Intensity  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Lowland
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Woody-Herbaceous  
Dune (undifferentiated)  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Vanclevea stylosa
  (Vanclevea)
G3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Sarcobatus vermiculatus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Vanclevea stylosa G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata T4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Atriplex canescens G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Purshia tridentata G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Artemisia filifolia G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ericameria nauseosa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Tetradymia tetrameres G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Ephedra viridis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Psoralidium lanceolatum G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Achnatherum hymenoides G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Hesperostipa comata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Leymus flavescens G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Muhlenbergia pungens G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Redfieldia flexuosa G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Callisaurus draconoides
  (Zebra-tailed Lizard)
G5      
Dipodomys ordii
  (Ord's Kangaroo Rat)
G5      
Microdipodops megacephalus
  (Dark Kangaroo Mouse)
G4      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Range: This system occurs in intermountain basins of the western U.S. including southwestern Montana in the Centennial Valley.

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

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
10 Wyoming Basins Confident or certain
11 Great Basin Confident or certain
19 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
6 Columbia Plateau Confident or certain
8 Middle Rockies - Blue Mountains Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
7 Cascade Mountain Range Predicted or probable
8 Grande Coulee Basin of the Columbia Plateau Predicted or probable
9 Blue Mountain Region Confident or certain
12 Western Great Basin Predicted or probable
13 Death Valley Basin Possible
15 Mogollon Rim Possible
16 Utah High Plateaus Confident or certain
17 Eastern Great Basin Confident or certain
18 Snake River Plain Confident or certain
19 Northern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
20 Missouri River Plateau Possible
21 Middle Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Confident or certain
23 Colorado Plateau Confident or certain
24 Navajo Plateau Confident or certain
25 Rio Grande Basin Confident or certain
27 Great Plains Tablelands Possible
28 Southern Rocky Mountains Confident or certain
29 Wyoming Highlands Possible
33 Western Great Plains Predicted or probable

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 3160

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Apr2014
Element Description Author(s): K.A. Schulz, M.S. Reid and G.P. Jones

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


References
  • Anderson, M. G. 1999a. Viability and spatial assessment of ecological communities in the Northern Appalachian ecoregion. Ph.D. dissertation, University of New Hampshire, Durham.

  • Bowers, J. E. 1982. The plant ecology of inland dunes in western North America. Journal of Arid Environments 5:199-220.

  • Caicco, S. L., and C. A. Wellner. 1983a. Research Natural Area recommendation for City of Rocks. Unpublished report prepared for USDI Bureau of Land Management, Burley District, Idaho by Idaho Natural Areas Coordinating Committee. On file at Idaho Conservation Data Center, Boise, ID. 12 pp.

  • Caicco, S. L., and C. A. Wellner. 1983b. Research Natural Area recommendation for Jim Sage Canyon. Unpublished report prepared for USDI Bureau of Land Management, Burley District, Idaho by Idaho Natural Areas Coordinating Committee. On file at Idaho Conservation Data Center, Boise, ID.

  • Caicco, S. L., and C. A. Wellner. 1983c. Research Natural Area recommendation for Southwest Lemhi Range. Unpublished report prepared for USDI Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Falls District, Idaho by Idaho Natural Areas Coordinating Committee. On file at Idaho Conservation Data Center, Boise, ID.

  • Caicco, S. L., and C. A. Wellner. 1983e. Research Natural Area recommendation for St. Anthony Sand Dunes. Unpublished report prepared for USDI Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Falls District, Idaho by Idaho Natural Areas Coordinating Committee. 10 pp.

  • Chadwick, H. W., and P. D. Dalke. 1965. Plant succession on dune sands in Fremont County, Idaho. Ecology 46:765-780.

  • 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.

  • Forman, S. L., M. Spaeth, L. Marin, J. Pierson, J. Gomez, F. Bunch, and A. Valdez. 2006. Episodic late Holocene dune movements on the sand-sheet area, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, San Luis Valley, Colorado, USA. Quaternary Research 66:97-108.

  • Fryberger, S. G., L. F. Krystinik, and C. J. Schenk. 1990. Modern and ancient eolian deposits: Petroleum exploration and production. Rocky Mountain Section, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Denver, CO.

  • Hallock, L. A., R. D. Haugo, and R. Crawford. 2007. Conservation strategy for Washington State inland sand dunes. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Natural Heritage Report 2007-05, prepared for Bureau of Land Management, Spokane, WA. 82 pp.

  • Jones, G. P. 2006. Survey of tall sagebrush vegetation on stabilized sands in the Jack Morrow Hills Coordinated Management Area, BLM Rock Springs Field Office, Wyoming. A report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management's Rock Springs Field Office by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, Laramie.

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

  • Lesica, P., and S. V. Cooper. 1998. Succession and disturbance in sandhills vegetation: Constructing models for managing biological diversity. Conservation Biology 13(2):293-302.

  • Marin, L., S. L. Forman, A. Valdez, and F. Bunch. 2005. Twentieth century dune migration at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado, in relation to drought varability. Geomorphology 70:163-183.

  • Pavlik, B. M. 1985. Sand dune flora of the Great Basin and Mojave deserts of California, Nevada, and Oregon. Madroņo 32(4):197-213.

  • Pavlik, B. M. 1989. Phytogeography of sand dunes in the Great Basin and Mojave deserts. Journal of Biogeography 16(3):227-238.

  • Pineda, P. M., R. J. Rondeau, and A. Ochs. 1999. A biological inventory and conservation recommendations for the Great Sand Dunes and San Luis Lakes, Colorado. Report prepared for The Nature Conservancy, San Luis Valley Program. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. 86 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thomas, K. A., M. L. McTeague, A. Cully, K. Schulz, and J. M. S. Hutchinson. 2009a. Vegetation classification and distribution mapping report: Petrified Forest National Park. National Resource Technical Report NPS/SCPN/NRTR--2009/273. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 294 pp.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
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.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
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.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2017
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: November 2016