Southwest Regional reports & data

Paleoenvironmental Framework for Understanding Desert Ciénegas (November 2013)

The history of ciénegas in the American Southwest over the last 8,000 years provides information on the dynamics of growth, longevity, and stability of these wetland habitats under previous climate conditions. Ciénega surfaces alternate between wetland and dryland phases, identified by changes in pollen preservation and isotopic signatures. This study presents a conceptual model on the controls for different ciénega states and how the paleoenvironmental record of change can be used in conservation, restoration, and management of these critical habitats.

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FireScape: A Program for Whole-Mountain Fire Management in the Sky Island Region (November 2013)

The Coronado National Forest’s FireScape program works to remove barriers to fire playing its natural role on the landscape. The FireScape team is nurturing multiple efforts around the Sky Islands—no two projects are alike, but those underway share an approach that includes multiple jurisdictions, investigations by University of Arizona scientists, public engagement, assessing treatment need at the whole-mountain scale, and creatively removing implementation barriers when funding is scarce. See also the Southwest Forest Assessment page.

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Sustaining the Grassland Sea (November 2013)

Grasslands of the Sky Islands region once covered over 13 million acres in southeastern Arizona and adjacent portions of New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Roughly two-thirds of these remain as intact or restorable grassland habitat that provide watershed services such as flood control and aquifer recharge across the region, and continue to support dozens of species of concern. This study merged grassland condition assessments, information on grassland species, and expert knowledge to prioritize grassland landscapes across the region.

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Managing Changing Landscapes in the Southwestern United States (January 2011)

This regional assessment examines the impacts of temperature change from 1951-2006 on natural resources in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It documents that warming has already affected habitats, watersheds, and species in the Southwest, by influencing the timing of seasonal events or amplifying the impacts of natural disturbances such as wildfire and drought. The report concludes that to begin adapting to climate change, natural resource managers should reevaluate the effectiveness of current restoration tools, modify resource objectives, learn from climate-smart adaptive management and monitoring, and share information across boundaries.

Ecoregional Assessment Geodatabase for Western North America (January 2008)

GIS data set that aggregates the information from 19 ecoregional assessments across western North America packaged as a personal geodatabase for use with ArcGIS 9.x and Microsoft Access software products. Note: this data set replaces the six-ecoregion geodatabase formerly posted on this site.

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Rivers and Water Management in the Southwest (June 2007)

Describes challenges for managing water resources in the Southwest, and recommends actions to improve ecologically sustainable water management. Published in May/June 2007 issue of Southwest Hydrology.

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Historical Range of Variation for Potential Natural Vegetation Types of the Southwest (June 2007)

Descriptions of the Historical Range of Variation or Variability (HRV) characterize the change over time and space in the condition of the Southwest’s major vegetation types and the ecological processes that shape those types. HRVs enable land managers and the public to understand the drivers of change in our region’s major vegetation types.

Southwest Forest Assessment Project Peer Review Process (October 2006)

All of the reports and data sets developed for the Southwest Forest Assessment Project were subjected to external peer review to ensure conformance with the Forest Service’s Science Consistency Review Standards. This report includes a complete list of the resource professionals who reviewed the various components of this project.

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Ecosystem Diversity Reports for National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico (August 2006)

Ecosystem diversity reports were developed to support the Forest Service’s need for information on the species and ecosystems that occur on National Forests in Region 3. The reports contain data summaries and analyses of a variety of regional datasets. Each report is packaged with an introduction and chapters describing methods and data sources.

Overview: Ecoregion-Based Conservation Assessments of the SW United States and Northwestern Mexico (July 2006)

Provides an overview of ecoregional assessments and the process used to create a standardized, cross-ecoregional dataset for six ecoregions within and adjacent to Arizona.

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What is the Southwest Forest Assessment Project? (June 2006)

Brief overview describing a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service Region 3 in Arizona and New Mexico, a project designed to develop scientific information for forest plan revisions and to help in the restoration of ecosystems.

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Historical Fire Return Intervals for Arizona and New Mexico (May 2006)

Synthesizes the scientific literature on historical fire return intervals associated with the major vegetation systems across Arizona and New Mexico. Included is a crosswalk table for use with the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project’s land cover dataset and three ArcGIS layer (.lyr) files that enable the user to mimic the report graphics.

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U.S. Forest Service Region 3 Species Database (May 2006)

Provides an up-to-date, searchable excel database on the species that occur on Region 3 Forests in Arizona and New Mexico.

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Biotic Communities of the Southwest GIS Layer (January 2006)

TNC developed a digital version for the whole of David E. Brown and Charles H. Lowe’s 1981 map. Previously, GIS representations of this map were only available for its Arizona and New Mexico portions. Users: please note the relatively coarse source scale of the paper map (1:1,000,000) when using this digital version for analyses. A layer file (.lyr) which mimics the familiar color scheme of the paper map is also provided.

Grasslands Assessment GIS Data (December 2004)

A GIS data set depicting the results of a two-year study to delineate grasslands and evaluate their ecological condition in Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This study was completed with the assistance of resource professionals from U.S. and Mexico universities and public agencies.

Ecoregional Conservation Assessment Reports (1999-2004)

Original reports summarizing the results of the six ecoregional conservation assessments completed for the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico by The Nature Conservancy and partners.

An Assessment of the Spatial Extent and Condition of Grasslands in AZ, NM, and Northern Mexico (January 2003)

This report is the first of two studies completed by TNC and partners to delineate the spatial extent and ecological condition of grasslands in central and southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This report covers the 30-million acre Apache Highlands Ecoregion.

See also An Ecological Assessment of BLM’s Current Fire Management Practices and Arizona Grasslands Assessment GIS Data for related reports and data.

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