The ecology of the Edwards Plateau in central Texas is unique. Its ecosystem ranks in the top ten nationwide for bird and reptile diversity. To date, 81 plants and 67 animals in this region are rated "very rare" or "critically imperiled," and of the 29 different plant communities that can be found on the Edwards Plateau, two are found nowhere else in the world.
Central Texas is an important stopover for migrating birds following the North American Central Flyway. Some Central American migrants such as the golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia), and black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapillus) nest only on the Edwards Plateau. Migratory monarch butterflies rely on central Texass healthy supply of milkweed. The many caves along the eastern edge of the Hill Country provide roosting habitat for record-size colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats.