Endemic Plants
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Endemic Plants of the Southwest

The Colorado Plateau region supports one of the highest levels of endemism in the U.S. Approximately 10% of the plant species are estimated to be endemic (Shultz, 1990). Many of these species are either federally listed or rare and of those species some find refuge in the protected areas of the Colorado Plateau. Understanding the dynamics of climate change and other disturbances on species range is important to protect the endemic species that currently occupy protected areas. Currently the available tools for understanding climate change impacts on biodiversity are climate change models. Of these models, species distribution modeling (SDM) is the best available tool for producing species specific information necessary in conservation planning. The SDM interprets present distribution data of a species and trains the model to predict the climatic conditions in which the species may exist.  The model then uses the current climatic tolerances of species to infer possible changes in their distribution due to alterations in climate.