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Natural Infrastructure Data Sources

Geographic data for Arizona’s natural infrastructure are available from a number of agencies & institutions throughout Arizona. Here, we summarize the sensitive biological lands & waters and open space layers which comprise natural infrastructure and provide links where you can download data

Natural Infrastructure composite

We created a statewide map and dataset of Arizona’s natural infrastructure by integrating 12 local, statewide and regional information sources. Arizona’s natural infrastructure includes:

Sensitive biological lands and waters – areas supporting core habitat or providing corridors for wildlife as identified by 5 scientific studies

Open space plans – areas with existing or proposed designation for outdoor recreational use as identified by multiple county & municipal governments and community open space plans.

NOTE: We have prepared a composite dataset for download on this website (right). However, this composite represents areas from only 10 of the 12 source datasets, as we are awaiting permission to include the 2 wildlife linkages datasets. Please see below for information about how to download wildlife linkages and other source data sets.

Natural Infrastructure

Sensitive biological lands & waters

Wildlife linkages

There are 2 important sources of wildlife corridor maps in Arizona:

The Arizona’s Wildlife Linkages Assessment identifies potential wildlife movement corridors across and within large blocks of protected habitat. Corridors were developed by the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup which is a collaborative effort between 9 public agencies and nonprofit organizations.

The Arizona Missing Linkages project, funded by Arizona Game and Fish Department, developed detailed linkage designs for 16 of the potential linkage zones identified by the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup. These linkage designs depict more precise locations for wildlife corridors and give specific planning recommendations for each location.

Download Data

Arizona Wildlife Linkages GIS data

Arizona Missing Linkages

Wildlife Linkages

Core habitat

Ecoregional assessments conducted by TNC in collaboration with public and private agencies identify core habitats for species throughout Arizona. These assessments provide information for 131 priority conservation areas in Arizona which harbor almost 600 species and ecological systems of concern.

Download Ecoregional Assessment Geodatabase

Core Habitat

Pima County bond lands

Important lands prioritized by the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and authorized for acquisition by the 2004 Pima County Conservation Bond election.

Data available from Pima County

Pima County Bond Lands

Priority grasslands

The grassland assessment identifies high-quality native grasslands in Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This assessment was conducted by TNC, the Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Arizona, and the Arizona State Land Department. For the natural infrastructure composite layer, we excluded priority grasslands from the Apache Highlands ecoregion, which are accounted for in the ecoregional assessment core habitat layer.

Download Grassland Assessment Data

Priority Grasslands

Arizona protected areas

Arizona protected areas are public and private lands and waters that are permanently protected from development and have demonstrated biological or natural resource value.

These include national parks, national monuments and memorials (with natural resource value), national conservation areas, national wildlife refuges, national wild & scenic rivers, areas of critical environmental concern, research natural areas, state habitat areas, state natural areas, state wildlife management areas, state greenways, Pima county conservation lands, private nature reserves and conservation easements.


Stewardship data can be queried from the Southwest ReGAP geodatabase or the land ownership data available from ALRIS

Protected Areas

Open space

Arizona open spaces

Arizona open spaces are public and private lands and waters that are permanently protected from development and were established for public enjoyment and recreation.

These include national wilderness areas, national recreational areas, state parks, state recreational areas, private parks and preserves (open to the public), and city and county parks and preserves.


Stewardship data can be queried from the Southwest ReGAP geodatabase or the land ownership data available from ALRIS

Open Spaces

County & municipality planned open spaces

Lands and waters proposed for open space designation by plans adopted by Arizona counties or municipalities.


County and municipality planned open spaces

Related Research
Arizona’s Natural Infrastructure
Aug 2010
Conservation Planning
Dan Majka, Marcos Robles, Rob Marshall
Arizona’s Natural Infrastructure
Arizona’s natural infrastructure includes lands and waters that preserve the state’s natural heritage and open space. We developed a natural infrastructure dataset by integrating 12 studies on conservation and open space lands, and used the the data to evaluate the potential impacts of A[...]
May 2008
Conservation Planning
Robles, M., D. Majka, and R. Marshall
Arizona Natural Infrastructure Composite GIS Dataset
GIS data set that integrates 10 local, state, and regional datasets which identify open space lands and sensitive biological lands. This data set is a composite or simplification of the source data sets – the boundaries of all individual data layers have been dissolved into one composite data laye[...]
Jan 2008
Ecoregional Assessment
Southwest Regional
Robles, M., Marshall, R., List, M., and C. Enquist
Ecoregional Assessment Geodatabase for Western North America
GIS data set that aggregates the information from 19 ecoregional assessments across western North America into a file geodatabase. This geodatabase contains geographic and tabular information pertaining to priority conservation areas in western North America. The region encompasses a sequence of mou[...]
Dec 2004
Arizona, Southwest Regional
Grassland Assessment
Gori, D., and C. Enquist
Grasslands Assessment GIS Data
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 agenc[...]