Sustaining the Landscape
By: Audrey Rader, BRN Restoration Project Manager
Allegra, Randi, and I spent the morning identifying plants in the gently sloping hills of the Wildlife Corridor, still dewy from rainfall the night prior. Over 600 species of native bees, 300 types of butterflies and moths, 14 hummingbird species, and two nectar-feeding bat species call the Madrean Sky Islands home.
Some of these pollinators buzzed around our heads and others flew out from underfoot as we spent our morning cataloging and classifying the region's flora. We are reminded once more of how vital it is to conserve and restore the resources that allow the Sky Islands to host such incredible biodiversity.
We encountered many charming plants, including agaves (Agave sp.) that attract the migratory Lesser Long-nosed Bats (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuena) and vibrant camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris), whose aromatic flowers even we relished.
After creating a robust list of what plants are available across this bountiful landscape, we'll investigate flowering sequences, diversity, and abundances that could potentially create resource gaps. Then the BRN Native Plant Nursery will grow out and plant species that address these gaps.
The Frances V.R. Seebe Charitable Trust is generously funding us to trek across BRN partner, Wildlife Corridor and National Forest lands to assess existing nectar and fruit resources for a variety of pollinators and frugivorous birds. As always, BRN's goal is to sustain this precious landscape we're so fortunate to call home. The days we spend botanizing with friends is just icing on the cake.
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