Travellers pass through one jaw-dropping landscape after another where the snowy San Juan Mountains meet the canyon and mesa country of the Colorado Plateau in southwestern Colorado. Yet this small but remarkably varied region also plainly reveals a history of hard use, including logging scars, mine-polluted rivers, and overgrazed grasslands and forests. In The Nature of Southwestern Colorado, Deborah D. Paulson and William L. Baker guide readers through this awe-inspiring land and its human legacies, describing in detail the ecology of its six sub-regions, showing readers how to recognise human influences on the flora and fauna, and discussing current trends. Although some of the policies and attitudes in southwestern Colorado continue to harm the natural world, a number of community projects suggest a promising future. Examining these trends, the authors search for signs of a new relationship between people and nature emerging here, one that enables people to protect, restore, and coexist with the wild.
Deborah D. Paulson is a professor in the Geography Department at the University of Wyoming. William L. Baker is a professor in the Geography Department and a faculty member in the Ecology Program at the University of Wyoming.