A Natural History of the Intermountain West

Its Ecological and Evolutionary Story

A Natural History of the Intermountain West was written to inform people about the wild world around us, with the idea that we all crave a connection to the natural world to ground us and give us a sense of place. It is also a book about change. While species are described throughout the chapters, the text is focused more on the profound processes that have shaped western ecosystems, based on a belief that understanding those processes is more meaningful than a list of names. The ways and the rapidity with which enormous ecosystems replace one another and sometimes even return as climates change are a magnificent testament to the tenacity of life.

The first book of its kind for this region, A Natural History of the Intermountain West takes a fresh look at the natural history of the southern Rockies and the Intermountain Region based on cutting-edge research, interviews with numerous scientists, and the author’s personal experience. Drawing together many disparate fields, the book integrates the evolution of western ecosystems with the geological and climatic history of the region. It is a passionate, humanistic, and scientific treatment of this area’s ecosystems, how they function, and how they came to be through time; it is a wonderful guide for the general public and scientists alike.

Gwendolyn L. Waring is a scientist and artist based in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has a PhD in biology with an emphasis on plant-animal interactions and approaches her research as an evolutionary ecologist.

Table of Contents:
Table of Contents:

List of Figures 
List of Tables 
List of Color Plates 
1. How the Rocky West Formed and How It Shapes Western Ecosystems 
Gwendolyn Waring and Wayne Ranney
2. Precious Water in the West 
3. Cool, Dark, Western Mountains 
4. Fast-Moving Ponderosa Pine Forests 
5. The Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands 
6. Western Grasslands 
7. The Spare and Beautiful Cold Desert 
8. A Few of the West’s Gorgeous Flowers 
Appendix I: Some Common Plants and Animals of the Southern Rockies and the Intermountain Region 
Appendix II: English to Metric Conversions