Landscape & Habitat Fact Sheets

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Arctic Landscape, © Larry Malvin
The Arctic is a fragile yet harsh environment. Few tree species grow here, and most reptiles and other cold-blooded creatures cannot survive. But despite its extreme cold, snow and powerful winds, the Arctic is home to resilient wildlife adapted to withstand and even thrive in these tough conditions.
Florida Panhandle (Apalachicola National Forest), © Julie Tew
The Florida Panhandle is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world. From dense pine forests, seepage streams and major rivers, to coastal marshes and pristine beaches, it is home to a wide array of key and endangered species, including gopher tortoises, sea turtles, manatees, red-cockaded woodpeckers, eastern indigo snakes, migratory birds and numerous species of fresh water mussels.
Mojave, © Chip Carroon
The Mojave region contains some of America’s most recognized and ecologically significant desert landscape. Located in southeastern California and southern Nevada, the area comprises approximately 30 million acres of land, including the California portion of the Sonoran Desert.
Grand Teton NP, © Kari Funk
Defenders has worked to protect wildlife and wild lands in the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains for more than 30 years. With large swaths of protected public land, the Northern Rockies are home to some of America’s most charismatic species.
Sagebrush, Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS
The Sagebrush Sea is the seemingly endless sagebrush grasslands that cover the yawning basins and the broad plateaus of the Intermountain West.
Sky Islands - Chiricahua, © Roxie Crouch
Covering nearly 47 million acres in the American Southwest and northern Mexico, the Sky Islands are a global biodiversity hotspot.
Southern Rockies / Maroon Lake, © Sean Pettersen
The Southern Rockies is the highest region of North America—most of it is above 10,000 feet in elevation. It is home to the highest mountain points in all of the Rockies, and is world renowned for its aspen forests, which provide essential wildlife habitat.


Coral reefs contain some of the largest diversity of life in the world. They are home to thousands of different plants and animals. For example, coral reefs in the Florida Keys sustain 500 species of fish, more than 1700 species of mollusks, five species of sea turtles, and hundreds of species of sponges.
Though they contain very harsh conditions, deserts are home to a wide variety of plants and animals.
Forests occupy one third of the Earth's land area and are found on all corners of the globe. While there are a few different types of forests, all forests have trees as the dominant plant type.
Dominated by grasses, these lands are home to many types of grazing animals, but very few are protected.
Oceans cover approximately 70% of the earth’s surface and support a great diversity of life and habitats.
Wetlands are the link between land and water, and are vital to wildlife, including one-third of endangered species.