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Slide show to focus on health of Southern Rockies ecosystems

Aspen Times Staff Report

The Southern Rockies Ecoregion, a mountainous area extending from Casper, Wyo., to Santa Fe, N.M., will be the subject of a slide show today at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

A report on the biological health of the region, which is nearly the size of New England, was released this year by Colorado-based Southern Rockies Ecosystem Project, a nonprofit organization. Bill Martin, mapping coordinator for SREP, will present the slide show on the report at 7 p.m. at ACES.

The slide show will illustrate healthy Southern Rockies ecosystems and show various man-caused impacts on them. Maps and tables will be part of the show, as well.

The report – “The State of the Southern Rockies Ecoregion” – is 140 pages long and is the result of three years of work by SREP. It examines how humans have influenced and will continue to impact smaller ecosystems within the region and the region’s native species. It makes recommendations for maintenance of those ecosystems that are healthy and for recovery of those which are at risk.

“It’s the first time anything of this depth has been done,” said Richard Compton, mapping specialist for the Aspen Wilderness Workshop. Compton is a SREP board member, and Aspen Wilderness Workshop has contributed information and maps of this area to the project database.

Compton said the report details such issues as the vegetation required for various animals to live and the effects of humans using the land. It compares the impacts of land uses such as logging, agriculture and mining with the impacts of tourism, retail and recreation.

Undisturbed by human development, the populations of wildlife and vegetation within an ecosystem expand and contract, influenced by disease, weather and availability of food. The SREP report studies the extent to which an ecosystem’s natural range can be affected without losing species.

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Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2000


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