A mosaic of ecoregions

In this collection of slides, we focus on the West’s great diversity of species and ecoregions. Many parts of the region boast incredible biodiversity, but plants, animals, and entire ecosystems are increasingly jeopardized by a broad range of threats.

Download Slides: Biodiversity in the American West (1767 downloads ) Download Notes: Biodiversity in the American West (1995 downloads ) Download Data: Biodiversity in the American West (1478 downloads )

Biodiversity in the American West from EcoWest on Vimeo.

Key points

Biological diversity in the American West is . . .

  • Impressive in terms of the number of native species and the sheer variety of ecosystems in one part of the continent
  • Highly variable across the region and across types of species, but decidedly concentrated in geographic hotspots, many of which are imperiled
  • Increasingly threatened by habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change, but less burdened by overhunting and collecting today than in the past
  • Undergoing major changes as warming temperatures and altered precipitation patterns are causing range shifts for plants and animals
  • Biased, on the policy level, toward protecting charismatic megafauna and species listed under the Endangered Species Act

Visualizing environmental trends