The Natural History Institute co-sponsored the 14th Annual Arizona Botany Meeting with the AZ Native Plant Society. 

We celebrated and explored the valuable zone of diversity of the Mogollon Highlands by presenting on topics related to Arizona’s transition zone and bordering ecoregions at the Arizona Native Plant Society’s 13th Annual Arizona Botany Meeting, May 13 and 14 at the Natural History Institute in Prescott, Arizona.

The Mogollon Highlands—Exploring the ecological uniqueness of Arizona’s transition zone

From an ecological perspective, the Mogollon Highlands is where Mexico meets Canada. This area is intersected by the southern extent of the Rocky Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sierra Madre. All four of North America’s deserts connect directly with the region: the Great Basin Desert to the north, the Mojave to the west, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan to the south. 

The Mogollon Highlands is a biodiversity hotspot and the region has been highlighted as a notable center of endemism in North America. We know that Arizona has the third highest plant species richness of any state, and because of the broad ecotonal nature of the Mogollon Highlands, much of this plant diversity can be found here. Despite all this, this Apachian/Madrean region is a “neglected center of biodiversity,” as Richard Felger and Michael Wilson pointed out two decades ago,