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It's becoming common knowledge that buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is a huge problem for native vegetation in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. In Sonora the problem is much worse. Vast areas of Sonora are over-run with buffelgrass. Ranchers in Sonora continue to blade and till desert and thornscrub to plant this invasive grass, which helps as cattle forage primarily only in the short-term. Once established the grass becomes less favored by cows unless there is little else…

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Half of this story is now being told - the intentional capture of Macho B by AZ Game and Fish. The other half of the story, which may be impossible to prove now (ironically due to Fish and Wildlife ordering the wrong kind of necropsy), is that the capture and associated stress, drugs, foot, and canine tooth damage led to the death of Macho B. The decision to euthanize Macho B may have been warranted by the time of re-capture.

Macho B had been in a foot snare for an unknown amount of…

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Sky Island Alliance in 2009 has started a multi-year biodiversity assessment of the Sonoran Sky Islands called the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment (MABA). This project is much needed as there is a dirth of information about the region. Aaron Flesch is working with Sky Island Alliance on this project and is already collecting bird, plant, and other data.

MABA data is housed in a MySQL database connected to the web for public access. You can interact with these data at…

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In June I trekked with a friend to the top of the Sierra El Pinito, a good-sized Sky Island just Southeast of Nogales. The Sierra El Pinito nudge their way into the pine forest community at 2230 meters, high enough to compete for serious Sky Island status in Sonora. They are just South of the border from the Santa Ritas and Patagonias on the US side, but because of the the political boundary they are a world away when it comes to fire suppression and natural fire regimes.

To drive the…