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Biogeographic Regions of Arizona

Sky Islands Region

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In the southeastern corner of the state several impressive mountain ranges rise above the hot lowlands of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. These "sky islands" include the Santa Catalina, Rincon, Santa Rita, Galuiro, Huachuca, Pinaleno (Mt.Graham), and Chiricahua Mountains. The biological diversity of these mountain ranges is amazing. One can hike from desertscrub up to cool forests of pine, fir, and spruce in a single day, passing through a host of other plant communities along the way. The mountains of the Sky Islands region are surprisingly lush. Perennial streams run through lovely forests of cottonwood, sycamore, and numerous other broadleaf trees in many of the area'ss rugged canyons. Occasional deep winter snows in the higher elevations combined with heavy summer rains make water plentiful in some areas throughout the year.

One can find the following biotic communities in the Sky Islands Region of southeastern Arizona. Subalpine Spruce-Fir Forest, Montane Mixed-Conifer Forest, Montane Ponderosa Pine Forest, Pinyon Pine-Juniper Woodland, Madrean Evergreen Woodland, Chaparral, Sonoran Desertscrub, Chihuahuan Desertscrub and Southern Arizona Riparian Woodland.

Sky Islands Geology