Travel/Recreation and New Mexico

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New Mexico's Living Landscapes: A Roadside View

William W. Dunmire
Photographs by Christine Bauman

This is a guide through the eco-regions and down the scenic byways of the state's natural world, from grasslands to mountains to deserts, focusing on some of the most interesting landscape features and the plants and wildlife found therein. The six eco-regions include the Chihuahuan Desert, bordering Mexico; the Great Basin Desert, spilling over from Nevada, Utah, and Arizona; the Great Plains Grassland covering the eastern prairies; the Great Basin Grassland occupying the middle Rio Grande Valley westward; the alpine montane forests of the Sangre de Cristo and Sandia Mountains; and the piƱon-juniper woodlands scattered throughout the mountain bases. New Mexico is third among states of greatest natural diversity, exceeded only by Texas and California. The elevation ranges from 2,842 feet where the Pecos River flows out of New Mexico to 13,161 at the snowy summit Wheeler Peak. A gamut of geological substrates and soil types provide a wide range of growing conditions for plants. More than nine-tenths of New Mexico's land remains in native or near-native condition, unchanged by human hands. This "living landscape" is wonderfully varied, ranging from vast rose-colored deserts that contrast with expanses of native grasslands, endless mesas and escarpments, fresh black lava flows, river valleys, and rugged mountains. This colorfully illustrated book provides readers with an understanding of the natural elements that define the environments of New Mexico and directs road travelers to some of their more interesting features.


William W. Dunmire is a former National Park Service naturalist with a career at Yellowstone, Yosemite, and other major parks. He is the coauthor of Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners and Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province: Exploring Ancient and Enduring Uses and the author of Gardens of New Spain: How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Changed America.

Christine Bauman is a still and motion photographer.


"William Dunmire's new book informs the layman about the diverse ecology of New Mexico . . . but Dunmire goes well beyond a textbook explanation. He wants readers to enjoy the diversity. So he fills the books with an array of color photographs and gives readers routes to drive in order to view those eco-regions from off the road."


Albuquerque Journal

"A reader-friendly, well-organized, beautifully illustrated look at the different eco-regions that define the New Mexico landscape. No lengthy hiking is required to view anything he discusses; all the cited examples can be seen from one's car."



Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

8.5 x 11 in. 136 pages 139 color photographs