Mountain regions are characterized by complex topography, multiple ecological zones, and biological diversity. The complexity of the San Juan Mountain region – from semi-arid rangeland to the alpine zone – results in a diversity of ecosystem types in a relatively small geographical area. From the smallest microbes to the tallest trees, these diverse ecological systems provide people with products and ecological services. MSI studies ecosystem processes and biodiversity to understand the factors that regulate them. The Institute identifies linkages between ecosystems and delivery of ecological services to society; and develops tools that allow stakeholders to incorporate information about ecosystems and their societal value into decision-making.