Great Basin BioProvince

This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) comprises virtually all of North America’s Great Basin together with the Snake River Plains. It also includes the Uinta Basin and a large part of the Colorado Plateau. It has an interior drainage bounded prominently on the west by the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range, on the east and south by the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. Its northern boundary is less distinct but gives way to the Columbia Plateau. Remnant lake features such as beaches, bars, and spits are testimony to the remains of massive Pleistocene lakes that filled much of the area during an era of melting glaciers and wetter climate. In fact, the two large so-called playas are the lakebed remnants of prehistoric lakes that existed in the basin during the last Ice Age, and Great Salt Lake in Utah is the remnant of Lake Bonneville a hugh lake that existed during the Pleistocene period. Much of the Great Basin is relatively arid today with most precipitation received as snow or as summer thunderstorms but virtually all of it is lost through evaporation or sinks underground or flows into lakes. Winters are cool and summers are mild. The flora is characterised by numerous local species but overall the level of endemism is not particularly high and no more than about 25%.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Vascular Plant Flora
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status