U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Desert
National Wildlife Range


16001 Corn Creek Rd
Las Vegas, NV   89124 - 8402
E-mail:
Phone Number: 702-879-6110
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/desert/
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

Over 500 plant species, 320 bird species, 53 mammal species, 35 reptile species, and 4 amphibian species have been identified in seven life zones. The boundaries between these zones are seldom sharp. The lower communities extend upward on the warm south-facing slopes, and the higher communities descend downslope on cooler or moister sites.

Near 10,000 feet in the Sheep Mountain Range, where growing seasons are shortest, the only trees are bristlecone pines. At 7,500-9,000 feet, where snow and rain linger, ponderosa pine and white fir dominate nearly closed canopy forests. Open canopy woodlands dominated by Utah juniper and single-leaf pinyon occur from 6,000-7,500 feet with precipitation of 10-15 inches per year, much of which is snow.

The blackbrush community is found at 4,200-6,000 feet on steep rolling hills. Different species of yucca, including Joshua tree, Mormon tea, and cholla cactus, are common associates. Joshua tree woodlands are commonly found at 3,000-5,000 feet. Although the apparently dominant species is the Joshua tree, most plant material consists of widely spaced shrubs. Open shrubland dominated by the creosote bush consists of widely spaced cacti and shrubs such as Mormon tea, bursage, and range ratney. Found at 2,400-3,600 feet, this community receives less than 5" of rain. In some basins on the valley floors, particularly those with low nocturnal temperatures and very high soil salinity, the saltbrush community dominates. A good example of this community can be found between Corn Creek Field Station and Highway 95.

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