Gambel oak is a prominent and ecologically important component of natural vegetation in the Southern Rocky Mountains and Southwest. Woodland and shrub communities dominated by Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) are widely distributed in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Gambel oak has long been recognized to have important benefits and uses such as supplying high-quality fuelwood and wildlife habitat, and has been managed for various benefits for a century or more. In Colorado and Utah, oak is generally found on moderate to steep slopes, and on a diverse range of soil types. With understory grasses, forbs, and other shrub species, oak provides primary protection against soil erosion over large areas.