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Biogeographic Regions of Arizona

Central Highlands Region

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Separating the generally cooler and higher terrain of northern Arizona from the hot lowlands of southern Arizona is an area of rugged mountainous country: the Central Highlands region. This region is a major geological and ecological transition zone stretching from the highlands of the upper Verde River valley southeastward along the prominent Mogollon Rim all the way across the state to the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. The Mogollon Rim defines the very southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Several rugged mountain ranges rise to nearly 8000 feet just south of the rim including the Mazaztal and Sierra Ancha ranges. The largest ponderosa pine forest in the United States covers most of this region above 6500 feet in elevation, while lower areas are covered by pinyon pine, juniper, and oak woodlands, chaparral, or to the south and east Sonoran desertscrub. The higher terrain of the White Mountains is forested with a beautiful mix of aspen, pine, spruce, and fir.

These biotic communities and their associated wildlife can be found in the Central Highlands Region. Subalpine Spruce-Fir Forest, Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest, Montane Ponderosa Pine Forest, Pinyon Pine-Juniper Woodland, Madrean Evergreen Woodland, Chaparral, Grasslands, Sonoran Desertscrub, Northern Arizona Riparian Woodland and Southern Arizona Riparian Woodland biotic communities.

Central Highlands Geology