Thanks to generous funding BRN is working on long-term conservation efforts for Emory Oak, Quercus emoryi, which functions as both an ecological keystone species and has been a food source for southwest civilizations for centuries. These magnificent trees are a critical part of southwest ecosystems, currently under compounding human and environmental pressures.
For their own sake and for the sake of the numerous interactions that they support, the Emory Oak is worthy of restoration focus and effort. Habitat loss and fragmentation are the leading threats to biodiversity, both globally and in Arizona. BRN plans to restore Emory Oaks in strategic locations to rebuild and maintain woodland corridors for wildlife use between two Sky Island mountain ranges that are critical for international wildlife mobility and migration in an eco-region with the highest density of threatened and endangered species in the United States.
This project will preserve forestland connectivity over 1.75 million acres of national forest land by restoring Emory Oak habitat in a 250 acre section of Smith Canyon near Patagonia, AZ that spans public and private land. Forestland connectivity is not only critical for wildlife, but is also important for maintaining strong population genetics into the future.
Through this project BRN will also strengthen community connection to this important plant through volunteer events in acorn collection, planting, and propagation, and will build capacity at the BRN Native Plant Nursery to provide large, genetically appropriate trees for wild lands restoration, and landscape planting.
We will also build the next generation of conservation leaders by supporting an internship to document decline of Emory Oak and other species.