Global Biodiversity Hotspots
The Madrean Archipelago, or Sky Islands, lies between the Sierra Madre Occidental (Mexico) and the Mogollon Rim (Arizona). In this area are 55 isolated Sky Island mountain ranges with oak woodland or pine-oak forests on top. The Sky Island mountain range of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico are global biodiversity hotspots of endangered species and species new to science. Mountain ranges this rich in biodiversity must be conserved. Many of the 55 Sky Island ranges in the Madrean Archipelago are disappearing or being degraded at an alarming rate due to mining and poor land management by local ranchers. This affects all of us in the United States, as wildlife, including jaguars and other big cats, migrate into our country and its numerous mountain ranges to seek new, safe habitats. This kind of mass migration could spell disaster for American ecosystems.
GreaterGood.org Signature Program, Madrean Discovery Expeditions (MDE), dedicates one full year of highly focused planning, research, prepping, and post-trip inventories/classifications around annual expeditions in order to make these, some of the remaining untouched regions of North America, protected lands through detailed biological studies/assessments and the cataloging of wild plants, animals, and insect life in the area, which, more times than not, have never been recorded.
Our efforts to explore, understand, document, and protect these hotspots has been a success, as five Sky Island regions are now protected areas. With each new mountain range comes at least one new species, making these expeditions some of the most exciting and important of our time. To say we can hardly wait to explore each new range would be an understatement!
by Jim Kober, February 23, 2017