The continental deserts of Arizona and New Mexico are characterized by high air and soil temperatures and low annual precipitation (less than 8in/year), most of which falls during the Monsoon season from about mid July through September. These deserts contain xerophytic plants, most commonly spiny shrub, cacti or hard grass species and an abundance of annual species following rainfall events. Many of the endemic animal species have behavioral (nocturnal) or physiological adaptations for dealing with the hot climate. Parts of this region can be variously described as scrub, torn scrub, savanna and steppe grasslands. Sand dune habitat and sterile salt flats are also present. As with most deserts, soils tend to have little organic matter. High evaporation rates commonly leads to localized salinization, which produces a salt crust and leads to halophytic plant communities. Calcification is also common in well drained areas.
Three major deserts are defined in this area: The Sonoran, the Chihuahua and Mojave. Each of these major deserts have differing flora communities typically defined by the amount and timing of precipitation.
Management within these systems focuses around fire and climate change effects on southwestern deserts and grasslands, invasive species, and projects focused on the riparian areas within this region.
- Classical Biological Control of Dalmatian (Linaria dalmatica), Yellow (L. vulgaris) and Hybrid (L. dalmatica x L. vulgaris) Toadflax
- Drought Adaptation of Three Purshia Species: Implications for Propagation, Atificial Regeneration, and Assisted Migration
- Effect of Endophytic Fungi on Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) Growth and Fecundity
- Effects of Fuel Reductions in the Santa Fe River Watershed
- Effects of Fuel Reductions on Wildlife Populations and Vegetation in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico
- Effects of Wildfire on Wildlife Populations and Vegetation in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico
- Future of Urban Open Space
- Management of Prairie Dog Colonies for Grassland Sustainability
- Monitoring and Evaluation for Conserving Biological Resources of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
- Potential Use of Biochar, a By-Product of Converting Biomass to Bioenergy, as an Amendment to Substrates Used to Grow Native Plants
- Predicting and Mitigating Potential Climate Change Effects on a Regionally Dominant Ecotonal Desert Shrub
- RMRS and RNGR: the Intersection of Science and Technology Transfer
- Tools to Assess and Assist Vulnerable Species at Risk from Climate Change