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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Located on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide, 100 km north-west of Denver (Colorado), this biosphere reserve and national park is managed for nature conservation, environmental education and public recreation purposes. Three vegetation zones are represented within the altitude range from 2,328 to 4,345 meters above sea level. The upper montane forest is characterized by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) shrublands, meadows and grasslands; the subalpine forest zone comprises mainly Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and fir (Abies lasiocarpa); and the alpine tundra includes open stands of grasses, sedges and dwarf flowering plants and willows.
Early meat and sport hunting drastically reduced large ungulate populations in the area.
Wapiti (Cervus elaphus) was reintroduced in 1913-14 and have increased to a winter herd of about 1,500. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is now common and about 350 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) utilize the high-elevation ranges. Some species, however, such as Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and bison (Bison bison) never recovered.
Outside of developed areas and roadways, the impact of humans has been minimal. Many exotic plant and sport fish species have been introduced in the area. There are over 2.5 million visitors mostly using only the developed areas and about 36,000 camper days were recorded in the back-country in 1986.
In recent years, the Rocky Mountain Biosphere Reserve and National Park has made important contributions to regional studies on atmospheric pollution, acidic deposition and climate change.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   4010' to 4033'N; 10529' to 10555'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   106,710
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +2,328 to +4,345
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Rocky Mountain National Park National Park Service

Last updated: 17/08/2000

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