Here in the Western Hemisphere, as temperatures and snowflakes begin to drop, many of us head to the mountains. Whether we go seeking solitude, beauty or adventure, our attraction to mountains can feel as strong and natural a force as gravity. Yet it is this very appeal of mountainous regions – combined with mounting global and regional pressures – that puts their ecology at risk.

The Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion, located along the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains and extending to the plains, is one such mountainous region. As is the case in the rest of the world, the ecological health of the Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion is being impacted by climate change and sprawl. Yet this area also faces regional challenges, such as water diversion, resort development, exurbia, oil & gas development, energy sprawl and emerging contaminants in the streams & rivers east of the Front Range.

How has this landscape been impacted by the people who have loved and needed it so? What is being done to preserve and regenerate the natural systems, resources and beauty that make this region so special?

Join us as explore the Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion and find out how people and organizations are responding in positive and hopeful ways to the mountain of pressures it faces.

We’ll begin by talking with two highly regarded experts who live and work in the Southern Rocky Mountains. First, we chat with geologist, author and professor of fluvial geomorphology at Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources, Dr. Ellen Wohl. Next, we check in with Dr. Jill Baron, an ecosystems ecologist with the U.S.G.S. Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory and editor of Rocky Mountain Futures, a book examining the cumulative effects of human activity in the Rocky Mountain region.

We’re delighted to shine our Non-Profit Spotlight on Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, an organization that is simultaneously restoring Colorado ecosystem and people’s connection to the land.

Staff members from Biohabitats’ Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion office in Denver draw our attention to a couple of key issues related to region’s ecological health. In her article Red Pines at Morning, senior ecologist Laura Backus tells us about the mountain pine bark beetle. This creature, the size of a grain of rice, poses a gargantuan threat to Colorado’s lodgepole pine trees. Water resources specialist and bioregional leader, Claudia Browne explains why riparian landscapes are arteries of biodiversity in the West.

For more information about the Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion, be sure to check out our list of resources. Get to know the folks in our Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion and find out about the latest Biohappenings.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts on our blog, Rhizome. If you want to reference a specific article, be sure to include it in your post.

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