Although local environmental groups often know their immediate surroundings in detail, there's a bigger picture available. The State of the Southern Rockies Ecosystem, a report released by the Nederland, Colo.-based Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project, inventories much of three states - Colorado, northern New Mexico and southern Wyoming - that compose an ecoregion, an area with relatively consistent patterns of geology, vegetation and climate.
Using Geographic Information Systems mapping technology, SREP, a
nonprofit member organization, located areas critical to the
ecoregion's health and biodiversity. The report's maps pinpoint
hotspots for urban growth, loss of old-growth forest and endemic
species, and overgrazing on public lands; its authors recommend
solutions that promote the integrity of the area's native species
and their habitat.
The project's director, Doug
Shinneman, says the report gives local conservation groups access
to the larger picture they may need to make the right decisions,
telling them, for instance, if a critical wildlife corridor runs
through their area. "People are already using (the report) as a
resource," says Shinneman, citing orders from both local
environmental groups and government officials.
The 137-page The State of the Southern Rockies costs $40 from the
Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project at P.O. Box 1182, Nederland, CO
80466 (303/258-0433). It is available for download at