Despite the term "Painted Desert", Petrified Forest is actually located in a grassland—shortgrass prairie. It is home to many plants and animals, with grassland, riparian, badland, sand dune, and spring habitats. Species often have adaptations to survive in this demanding environment, including being nocturnal. Visitors sometimes miss the diversity of the region as they are only here momentarily.
The ecology of a park is the study of how everything works together, the living species, climate, weather, geology, geography, and more. Food webs chart the relationship between species, how energy flows from plants to herbivores, through carnivores, and decomposers. The difference in water availability, elevation, and soil all affect what the habitats looks like and who lives there. As you visit the park, you will notice differences from one end to the other.
Last updated: April 15, 2023