Great Basin shrub steppe

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For the other WWF ecoregion named for the Great Basin, see Great Basin montane forest.
Great Basin shrub steppe
Great Basin Shrub Steppe map.svg
Biome Deserts and xeric shrublands
Bird species 204[1]
Mammal species 105[1]
Country United States
States Nevada, California, Idaho and Utah
Habitat loss 4.1362%[1]
Protected 76.62%[1]

The Great Basin shrub steppe ecoregion is within the deserts and xeric shrublands biome. It includes various xeric shrub-steppe and sagebrush steppe sub-ecoregions in the Great Basin region of the Western United States.


The ecoregion is within the North American Desert region, and includes much of Nevada, eastern and northeastern California east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range rain shadows, and parts of Idaho Oregon, and Utah. The Great Basin Desert and semi-arid non-desert xeric shrubland species include sagebrush and spiny hop sage.

The Great Basin Desert Ecoregion is a former and outdated biogeography term for this ecoregion.[citation needed]

Adjacent biomes[edit]

Riparian biome habitats occur along river banks and at springs within this ecoregion, and also in other ecoregions of higher elevations and precipitation.

The Great Basin shrub steppe sub-ecoregions are often in elevated desert areas (annual precipitation less than 10 inches per year) and have ecotones between other nearctic biomes in adjacent parts of the Great Basin. These include:


Sagebrush-steppe in northeastern Nevada along US 93

Black Rock Desert[edit]

The Black Rock Desert is in the central Basin and Range ecoregion at the edge of the northern Basin and Range ecoregion and has two Level IV ecoregions: the Lahontan salt shrub basin, and a non-shrub-steppe ecoregion, the Lahontan playa.

Dixie Valley[edit]

In the Dixie Valley drainage basin, the sub-ecoregions of Central Basin and Range ecoregion are a more complex example with shrubs on the slopes. The Dixie Valley watershed has a floor with elevation greater than 3,000 ft (910 m) and, like the Black Rock Desert, has both the Lahontan Salt Shrub Basin and Lahontan Playa ecoregions.

Additionally at higher elevations are the Dixie Valley's Lahontan sagebrush slope (west) and Central Nevada high valley (east) ecoregions that transition to the mountainous Lahontan upland and Central Nevada mid-slope woodland and brushland ecoregions (the latter's summits are Central Nevada Bald Mountain ecoregions).[2]

Lightning-sparked wildfires are common occurrences in the Great Basin shrub steppe.


The dominant vegetation type is sagebrush scrub.[3] Typical plants in habitats can include: sagebrush and sourberry[citation needed] or skunkbush.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M. D.; Boucher, T. M.; Robertson, J. C.; Heibel, T. J.; Ellison, K. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26256-0. 
  2. ^ Bryce, S.A; et. al. "Ecoregions of Nevada" (POSTER). USGS.  NOTE: The poster depicts the CA northern point of the Mojave Basin & Range ecoregion 37.28N,117.71W in the Last Chance Range).
  3. ^ Pam Mackay, Mojave Desert Wildflowers, p19

External links[edit]