RESOURCES: The Lowdown on the Colorado Plateau

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Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1455
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5521.1455d

Centered on the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, the Colorado Plateau is 337,000 square kilometers of paradox. It's a desert that's also home to the Colorado and Green Rivers; geologically stable, but riddled with eroded canyons; hostile to settlement, but rich in archaeological treasures. Explore the region's past and present at Land Use History of the Colorado Plateau, the brainchild of Thomas Sisk, an environmental scientist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Sisk's team has built a rich compendium of research from many disciplines for students, scientists, land-use planners, and fans of the Southwest.

Start at one of six main topics—people, places, biota, tools, trends, or change—and create your own journey through the plateau. Learn about the Anasazi people, who built cliff dwellings and kivas before mysteriously disappearing 800 years ago. Find out how scientists use fossilized garbage piles left by packrats to trace past vegetation and animal life. Other sections cover timely topics from fire ecology to the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf.

Each entry is an easily digested nugget linked to other pages, including primary research. The site also contains a bibliography of more than 2500 books, articles, and reports. Contributors are experts on the plateau, and their passion is infectious.

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