Colorado Plateau forests: A unique and imperiled resource
The Colorado Plateau harbors a spectacular diversity of forestlands. From the region’s mountains to its high plateaus, the spruce-fir, mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, and piñon-juniper forest types of northern Arizona provide a scenic backdrop and contain the headwaters for the Plateau’s world-famous canyon country.
Each of the Plateau’s forest types has its own intricate ecological dynamics that have supported unique species for thousands of years. However, like many Western forests, historical land use policies and practices disturbed natural fire regimes and wildlife habitat, altering the structure and function of these forests. Industrial logging, livestock overgrazing, fire suppression, killing of predators, and road construction have all compromised the forests’ ecological integrity and scenic quality.
To help restore the historical functions of the Plateau’s forests, and to preserve their biodiversity, the Trust has been working for over a decade on forest restoration efforts in Arizona. Our Arizona forest restoration efforts focus on the Kaibab Plateau and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative on the Mogollon Rim.