The Flora of the Colorado Plateau: What Do We Know?

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Learning from the Land: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Science Symposium Proceedings, November 4-5, 1997


Salt Lake City, Ut


Linda M. Hil


Bureau of Lane Management, National Applied Resouce Sciences Center

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Of the five major floristic divisions in the State of Utah, none is richer in plant diversity than the Colorado Plateau division. The area set aside in 1 996 and approved in 1997 as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is one part of this division, occupying 1 .7 million acres. This area of precipitous canyons and high plateaus may harbor more than 1,100 species of vascular plants, or approximately 50 percent of the flora found in the Colorado Plateaus and 30 percent of the flora of Utah. We know that as many as 40 species of rare and sensitive species are in the area. Statistics are drawn from existing digitized databases of plant distributions within Utah. A coordinated system of electronic databases is needed to track and analyze new information arising from ongoing botanical inventories. Geographic information systems will help organize data and link statewide biodiversity studies to nationwide data systems.