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Title: Sustaining the grassland sea: Regional perspectives on identifying, protecting and restoring the Sky Island region's most intact grassland valley landscapes

Author: Bodner, Gitanjali S.; Warren, Peter; Gori, David; Sartor, Karla; Bassett, Steven;

Date: 2013

Source: In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Collins, Loa C. Merging science and management in a rapidly changing world: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago III and 7th Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwestern Deserts; 2012 May 1-5; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings. RMRS-P-67. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 399-409.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Grasslands of the Sky Islands region once covered over 13 million acres in southeastern Arizona and adjacent portions of New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Attempts to evaluate current ecological conditions suggest that approximately two thirds of these remain as intact or restorable grassland habitat. These grasslands provide watershed services such as flood control and aquifer recharge across the region, and continue to support dozens of species of concern. Prioritizing conservation interventions for these remaining grassland blocks has been challenging. Reliable data on condition and conservation value of grasslands in the region have not been systematically summarized. State and national boundaries further complicate efforts to identify where the best remaining habitats and populations of grassland obligate species still exist. We present results of an effort to merge grassland condition assessments, compile information on target species locations, and identify “priority grassland valley landscapes” across the region. We evaluate these priority landscapes in terms of the number of target species, critical threats, and enabling conditions for long-term conservation success such as activity by local cooperative groups dedicated to sustaining their landscapes. Lastly, we discuss the opportunities and challenges of designing and implementing effective restoration activities in these large multi-jurisdictional landscapes.

Keywords: Madrean Archipelago, Sky Islands, southwestern United States, northern Mexico, natural environment, fauna, flora, research, management, biodiversity, climate change

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Bodner, Gitanjali S.; Warren, Peter; Gori, David; Sartor, Karla; Bassett, Steven. 2013. Sustaining the grassland sea: Regional perspectives on identifying, protecting and restoring the Sky Island region's most intact grassland valley landscapes. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Collins, Loa C. Merging science and management in a rapidly changing world: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago III and 7th Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwestern Deserts; 2012 May 1-5; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings. RMRS-P-67. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 399-409.

 


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