The Colorado Plateau is a geographically defined as the area bounded by the Rocky Mountains to the East, the Uinta and Wasatch Moutains to the North, the Coconino Rim to the West, the Mogollon Rim to the South, and the Rio Grande Rift to the Southeast. This arid-land system has become famous for the many National Parks of southern Utah. Those who come to love the Colorado Plateau tend to relate to its various sedimentary rocks, mostly sandstone, limestone and shale. For plant nerds, numerous edaphic endemics and cryptic organisms, such as biological soil crust are favorite features.
The Basin and Range geophysical setting comprises numerous landscapes and defined deserts. From the Mojave to the West to the Sonoron and Madrean Sky Islands to the Chihuahuan Desert to the East. These biotic settings all share the common feature of numerous fault block mountains interrupting otherwise flat basins. Sometimes barren plays rest in valley bottom, the remnants of pleistocene aged lakes. In all cases, the floral and avian diversity of these deserts is fruitful.