Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Kaibab Plateau COA

North of the Grand Canyon, the Kaibab Plateau is an isolated, high elevation mountain with areas of continuous subalpine grasslands and Petran subalpine conifer forests. It is owned and managed primarily by the Kaibab National Forest. Subalpine grasslands occur largely on the top of the Plateau near sinkhole features/wetlands. These areas receive ample precipitation and have productive wet soils that support relict glacial plant populations. Bison are a wildlife species that tends to concentrate on the Grand Canyon National Park. Bison populations must be kept at sustainable levels to avoid damage to subalpine grasslands, springs and wetlands. The threats to this system are meadow encroachment by conifers and climate change. Proper management of grazing and recreation are also important in the remaining patches of subalpine grassland. Petran subalpine conifer forests support stands of vigorous aspen in addition to fir, spruce and pine. Large-scale, high-intensity fire is the primary threat to the mixed conifer forest. Selective thinning and managed fire are needed to prevent massive fires from changing this unique mosaic habitat.

Conservation Goals

  • Prevent loss of existing subalpine grassland by removing encroaching conifers.
  • Monitor and manage livestock and wildlife grazing to support long-term health of relict plant populations and wetlands within the subalpine grassland type.
  • Improve management of motorized recreation within the subalpine grassland type.
  • Implement forest restoration through targeted thinning, prescribed and managed fire. Implement the Kaibab Plateau Ecological Restoration Project (EA completed 2021).


Primary Threats

1. Agriculture

1.3: Livestock farming and ranching

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.1: Habitat shifting and alteration
3.2: Droughts

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Remove encroaching conifers and other wood plants from subalpine grasslands.
  • Monitor and manage livestock and wildlife grazing and recreation in subalpine grasslands.
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • In Petran subalpine conifer forest, implement forest restoration and prevent catastrophic fire through strategic thinning and prescribed and managed fire.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Arizona Tiger Salamander, Great Basin Spadefoot


American Three-toed Woodpecker, California Condor, Clark's Nutcracker, Dusky Grouse, Flammulated Owl, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Mexican Spotted Owl, Mountain Chickadee, Northern Goshawk, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill


Quick Gloss, Rocky Mountainsnail, Silky Vallonia, Forest Disc


Big Free-tailed Bat, Cave Myotis, Dwarf Shrew, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Hoary Bat, Kaibab Squirrel, White-bellied Long-tailed Vole, Long-tailed Weasel, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • House Rock Wildlife Area (AZGFD)
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
  • Kanab Creek Wilderness

Potential Partners

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Canyon Trust
  • Kaibab National Forest

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs