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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Defining Boundaries Across Borders: a Case Study Extending a Major Land Resource Area into Mexico. 1708

Authors
item Macewen, R. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Mann, R. - RETIRED NRCS
item Heilman, Philip
item Stone, Jeffry
item Melgoza Castillo, A. - INIFAP
item Guertin, D. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Submitted to: Biodiversity & Management of the Madrean Archipelago Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2005
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Macewen, R., Mann, R.S., Heilman, P., Stone, J.J., Melgoza Castillo, A., Guertin, D.P. 2005. Defining boundaries across borders: a case study extending a major land resource area into mexico. Proc. Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago II Conf., Connecting Mountain Islands and Desert Seas, May 11-14, Tucson, AZ, pp. 525-528.

Interpretive Summary: The Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts occupy significant areas on both sides of the border and demonstrate similar climate, geology, soil and water resources, and vegetation. MLRA 41 is a very diverse ecological area in the transition zone between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, consisting of a series of isolated mountain chains and arid river basins. We used geographic information science (GIS) and field work to extend MLRA 41, Southeastern Arizona Basin and Range, from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico into northeastern Sonora and Chihuahua. This is a proposed method to link NRCS ecological sites with the Comisión Técnico Consultiva de Coeficientes de Agostadero (COTECOCA-Technical Commission for Stocking Rates) Sitios de Productividad Forrajera (Forage Production Sites). Precipitation, temperature, vegetation, soils, and elevation data were collected to compare the NRCS MLRA characteristics with that of the available data for Mexico. The result of this analysis is an updated boundary. This new boundary of MLRA 41 does not extend as far west or south as the previous boundary. This boundary should still be considered tentative, but will allow land managers and investigators in Mexico to take advantage of the existing contained in ecological site descriptions for MLRA 41.

Technical Abstract: The lack of understanding of the ecological systems surrounding the Madrean Archipelago is a major constraint on the management of the 'desert seas'. There is a clear need to identify those areas that will have similar responses to management on both sides of the border and share all available information. We used geographic information science (GIS) and field work to extend a USDA-NRCS classification scheme, Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs), from southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico into northeastern Sonora and Chihuahua. The Southeastern Arizona Basin and Range MLRA (41), is a very diverse ecological area in the transition zone between the Sonora and Chihuahua Deserts. MLRAs have relatively homogeneous patterns of topography, soil, climate, water resources, and land use. The delineation of MLRA 41 into Mexico will allow for a more effective linkage of research and increased availability of information. The result of this analysis is a boundary line extending MLRA 41 into Mexico allowing for the enumeration of ecological sites, potential plant communities, threatened and endangered species habitat, and their implications in rangeland management.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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