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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Florissant in Teller County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Life Zones

 
 
Life Zones Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 11, 2020
1. Life Zones Marker
Inscription.  

Pikes Peak is the huge mountain you see across the valley. On a clear day, you can see two distinct areas on the mountain—a darker band of forest and a lighter colored treeless area. These different layers called "life zones" are a reflection of local climate variations due to elevation. Elevation changes affect temperature and moisture levels that result in different plant and animal communities.

Fossil evidence indicates that there may have been different life zones in the Eocene, too. The ancient valley was warmer and wetter, whereas nearby slopes just above the valley were drier and supported shrubs and low trees, such as pine, oak, and mountain mahogany. The highest slopes supported fir, spruce, pine, and hemlock trees.

[Photo, looking toward Pikes Peak, delineates life zones]

Alpine
The cold and windswept zone of bare rocks, tundra, and meadows is above tree line. Marmots, pikas, and ptarmigan are some of the animals found at this elevation.

Subalpine
This zone of evergreen forests lies in between the alpine zone and the montane zone. These cool, moist forests receive large amounts of snow

Life Zones Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 11, 2020
2. Life Zones Marker
Looking ESE toward the Visitor Center
and that is why most of the ski areas in Colorado are located in the subalpine. Gray Jays are one of the most common birds in these forests.

Montane
The montane life zone is drier and warmer than the subalpine and is dominated by ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, aspen, and mountain meadows. Abert's squirrels, coyotes, and mule deer are common at this elevation.

You are standing in the montane life zone. Along the Ponderosa Loop, you will also discover localized habitats within this zone.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentPaleontologyParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 38° 54.84′ N, 105° 17.237′ W. Marker is near Florissant, Colorado, in Teller County. Marker is along the Ponderosa Loop Trail at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, about 600 feet WNW of the Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15807 County Road 1, Florissant CO 80816, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Valley Through Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Changes Within Habitats (within shouting distance of this marker); The Role of Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); Just One Piece at a Time (about 300 feet

Montane Zone Meadow image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 11, 2020
3. Montane Zone Meadow
Looking NW from about 150 feet WNW of Life Zones marker
away, measured in a direct line); Layers of Time (about 300 feet away); Delicate Impressions (about 300 feet away); Ancient Clones (about 300 feet away); Florissant Valley Today (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florissant.
 
Also see . . .  Florissant Fossil Beds. National Park Service; National Monument Colorado entry (Submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 23, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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Jan. 16, 2021