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Biotic Communities

of Arizona

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Southern Arizona Riparian Woodland

South of the Mogollon Rim, riparian forests become more diverse than those found in the northern part of the state with several additional species growing with the willow, cottonwood, and box-elder that are the major species to the north. The beautiful white trunk of the Arizona sycamore is a common site in riparian forests below about 4500 feet. Arizona alder, Arizona walnut, and velvet ash also add to the diverse broadleaf woodland. In higher areas between 5500 and about 8000 feet one may find big-tooth maple, and in a few localities in central Arizona, including the red rock country near Sedona, one may see the rare Arizona cypress growing along streambeds. Because of the abundance of water and diversity of plant life, riparian areas are critical habitat for numerous animals and birds.
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