The Madrean Archipelago, or Sky Islands, is the region between the northern Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico, and the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona. Sky Islands are isolated mountain ranges that have crowns of oak woodland or pine-oak forest. There are 55 Sky Islands in the Madrean Archipelago. Thirty-two of these reside in Mexico. Five biotic provinces convergence in the area: tropical temperate SMO, temperate Rocky Mountains, Great Plains-Chihuahuan Desert, Sonoran Desert, and western Mexico lowland tropics. The Madrean Archipelago is part of the Mexican Pine-oak Ecoregion designated as a global biodiversity hot spot by Conservation International in 2008.
Biodiversity expeditions to these isolated Sky Islands play a key role in the GreaterGood.org Signature Program, Madrean Discovery Expeditions (MDE). Areas of probable high biodiversity where biological documentation is sparse are given priority. Also taken into consideration when choosing a site is the potential for conservation and restoration.
Working with both U.S. and Mexican experts in the fields of botany, entomology, ornithology, herpetology, mammalogy, and other disciplines, our expeditions provide endless opportunity for our team to collect sought after biodiversity data, advance graduate and undergraduate research, continue to raise awareness about needed conservation in the sector and to maintain important relationships with regional landowners. These Sky Islands remain among the last untouched regions in North American. They are positioned in such a way that large groups of scientist and their teams can easily access the areas from our headquarters in Tucson, Arizona.
There are still species in this region to be discovered, and species long thought extinct, to be given the proper care and space to repopulate, and ultimately there is much needed information to be collected in order to conserve these areas. You can help. We all can.
by Jim Kober, February 23, 2017