Originally published in 1993 and now available for the first time in paperback, this book remains one of the few authoritative vegetation compilations for a western state. It is the first comprehensive study of the biological history and evolution of New Mexico's vegetation and includes a detailed account of the distribution of plant communities in the state today.
Discussed are the following major types of vegetation: tundra and coniferous forest, woodland and savanna, grassland, scrubland, riparian, and wetlands. For each type, information is provided on the principal plant species. In addition, for each vegetation type special attention is given to describing how plants sharing a common location interact and, in particular, how human activity impacts on each type. Much of New Mexico's vegetation is in some stage of succession as a result of human-initiated disturbances such as fire, logging, and livestock grazing. The book ends with a detailed description of species of special concern and what is being done to preserve examples of vegetation types within the state.
A map of the state's vegetation, including types not found on existing maps, accompanies the book. The classifications of vegetation employed here are easily recognizable in the field, which makes them of greater use to the public as well as to resource managers, researchers, and students.