Mixed Conifer Forest

Wild Iris
Wild iris grow in large fields within the open spaces of the Mixed Conifer Forest.

Photo by Sally King

Like a mountain oasis in an arid land, mixed conifer forests of Douglas fir, white fir, and spruce generally thrive at higher elevations where it is cooler and wetter. Compared with the ponderosa pine forests, these communities are more diverse and lush. A rich undergrowth of forbs, grasses, and shrubs makes this a popular zone for foraging by wildlife. Black bears and elk are common.
mountain lion
Large mammals such as mountain lion, black bears, elk, and mule deer are common in the Mixed Conifer Forests.

Photo by Sally King

Although the higher, cooler elevations of Bandelier were not practical for farming, the Ancestral Pueblo people hunted and gathered seasonal foods here. More than 100 years of fire suppression in these mixed conifer forests has resulted in over-dense forests at risk for large crown fires (fires that spread into the tree canopy, often killing the trees).

black bear in tree
Although black bears are large mammals, their main foods include fruits and insects.

Photo by Sally King

Last updated: August 8, 2017

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Mailing Address:

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Road

Los Alamos, NM 87544


505 672-3861 x0

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