The overall purpose of this project is to promote sustainable biodiversity through research, education, and outreach. This research project consists of quantifying herpetofaunal (reptile and amphibian) biodiversity at Tumamoc Hill and other fragmented areas of Sonoran Desert habitat throughout Tucson. Because snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads are among the most important consumers and prey in Sonoran desert ecosystems, sustaining herpetofaunal biodiversity is vital to the health of desert ecosystems.
The UA Campus Arboretum consists of 7,810 mature trees spread across 387 acres. Using i-Trees software, which accounts for the location, species, size, and age of each tree, students are assessing the value of campus trees both in economic terms—maintenance expenses and energy cost savings—as well as environmental—atmospheric carbon reduction and air quality benefits.
Studying Resilience in Southwestern Forests
by Paulina Jenney
University of Arizona researcher Donald Falk and his students are studying hundreds of plots in southwestern mountain ranges to understand why some forests bounce back from devastating wildfires while others give way to grassland and shrubs.
The goal of his project, he said, is to provide guidance to park and forest managers faced with restoring post-fire landscapes, or allowing other species to move in.
Studying the Shy Sonoran Pronghorn
The endangered Sonoran pronghorn once ranged widely in Arizona, California, and Sonora, Mexico. Now, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), only about 160 free-ranging animals live in the U.S., with an additional 434 living in Mexico.
David Christianson, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, wants to know why their numbers are low. With funding from the USFWS, Christianson is studying the impacts of humans on the spry tan and white ungulates.
Predicting Climate Impacts on New World Plants
Brian Enquist spends a lot of his time cleaning dirty data.
As the principal investigator for the Botanical Information and Ecology Network (BIEN), Enquist is standardizing data about New World plant species to make the information useful and useable to scientists, forest managers, and gardeners.
A Framework for Stewardship: Identifying Lands with High Conservation Values
In the face of rapid global change, how can land managers better determine which lands are most suitable for conservation? Sound science helps. A research team, supported by the IE-based Southwest Climate Science Center, recently created a framework to identify lands with high conservation value in the West and elsewhere.