|Biosphere Reserve Information|
© Photo: John Marr
Niwot Ridge is located 65 km north-west of Denver in north-central Colorado. Habitats include western spruce-fir forest, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) subalpine forest, alpine meadows as well as ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) shrubland. The site is little influenced by human impact and is thus an excellent site to monitor biological, chemical, and physical responses to changes in atmospheric chemistry and climate. The biosphere reserve is administered cooperatively by the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Colorado for experimental and long-term studies of alpine tundra.
A mountain research station facilitates research from atmospheric chemistry to alpine and sub-alpine ecology. Niwot Ridge is one of the National Science Foundations Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, and has been used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for atmospheric trace gas sampling since 1968.
Today, the substantial increases in nickel deposits during the past three decades are one of the major concerns since they may alter biological processes in alpine tundra and surrounding catchment areas. Educational programmes in the biosphere reserve focus primarily on the university level, but also include high schools and the general public.
|Major ecosystem type||Mixed mountain and highland systems|
|Major habitats & land cover types||Talus slopes; alpine tundra; subalpine forests; meadows|
|Transition area(s) when given|
|Altitude (metres above sea level)||+2,866 to +3,780|
|Administrative authorities||Mountain Research Station, Niwot Ridge University of Colorado|
|Last updated: 1/15/2002|