While attempts to remove invasive and exotic species from the Northern Jaguar Reserve will be a central component of our restoration campaign, NJP has a parallel interest in learning more about the native vegetation that has taken root on this land. The reserve is positioned at the crossroads of temperate and subtropical North America, and the landscape features an unparalleled mix of natural communities, including Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, oak woodlands, Sinaloan thornscrub, and tropical deciduous forest. Our goal is to better understand the flora found in these various habitats so that we can better protect them.

A plant inventory was initiated at Rancho Los Pavos in 2006, when transects were established and spring fieldwork was conducted. Scientists from the Desert Botanical Garden, Texas Christian University, and the Universidad de Sonora volunteered to travel to the reserve to identify and collect plant samples. These pressed specimens are inventoried and stored at the Universidad de Sonora’s herbarium in Hermosillo.

We’re now working with botanists long affiliated with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to complete and expand upon the master plant list for the reserve. They will refine the preliminary vegetation classification, define vegetation types using plotless relev├ęs, and document their flora survey on aerial photos and maps. The botanists’ plant habitat work will include a look at the more interesting and unusual vegetation and plant associations found at the reserve. Their field research will be a collaborative effort with Mexican botanists and simultaneously provide training to Mexican college students.

Plants of the Northern Jaguar Reserve (.pdf)

Photo by Jim Rorabaugh