The Science Advisory Committee of the Malpai Borderlands Group is composed of scientists specializing in disciplines ranging from botany to zoology.
Did you know?
- Malpai ranchers have cooperated with scientists to inventory the region’s rich biodiversity — including the most diverse lizard fauna in the US.
- The Malpai region has the most extensive network of long-term vegetation monitoring plots in the Southwest. The data collected helps ranchers and public land managers to improve ongoing grassland restoration efforts.
- The Malpai science program maintains over 200 monitoring plots to provide baseline data on the ecology of the region. Other research efforts focus on specific taxa like the tiny Cochise pincushion cactus.
LINKS TO RELATED WEBSITES
The Jornada- Arid Lands Research Programs - http://jornada.nmsu.edu/portals/malpai
The Cuencos Los Ojos Foundation - http://www.cuencalosojos.org/
Jaguar Book - http://www.jaguarbook.com/
Northern Jaguar Project - https://www.northernjaguarproject.org/
MALPAI BORDERLANDS GROUP
2014 SCIENCE CONFERENCE
COCHISE COLLEGE, DOUGLAS, ARIZONA
The conference Keynote Address was delivered by Sid Goodloe who owns and operates the Carrizo Valley Ranch near Capitan, New Mexico. Sid has worked for fifty years to restore and manage rangeland and wildlife habitat on his ranch while creating a diversified ranching operation. He described his use of a wide variety of practices to restore grasslands and riparian areas and improve ponderosa pine and pinyon woodlands. Sid’s efforts have been recognized with stewardship awards from the National Cattlemen’s Association, the New Mexico Watershed Coalition, the Quivira Coalition and the New Mexico Riparian Council. Sid’s remarks generated a lot of interest and were followed by numerous questions and favorable comments.
Turning our attention closer to home, Brandon Bestelmeyer and Matt Levy, two of our collaborators with the Jornada Experimental Range, presented a description of their work with Malpai ranchers. Their presentation described their framing and testing of alternative hypotheses for testing the effects of fires on vegetation in the Malpai borderlands. Doug Boykin, Regional Forester with NM State Forestry, summarized our experiences with twenty years of fire management in the Boot Heel of New Mexico. Doug’s collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and private land ranchers has resulted in the restoration of periodic fire to almost one-half million acres in southwestern New Mexico.
An overview of fire management and fire management policy on the Coronado National Forest was presented by Chris Stetson, the Fire and Fuels Planner, and Marc Stamer, who is the Wildlife Program Manager and BAER Coordinator. Our first prescribed burn was completed almost twenty years ago in cooperation with the Coronado Supervisor’s Office and Douglas Ranger District staff.
After lunch, Mark Bernal, the Fire Management Officer with the Las Cruces District Office provided an overview of fire management direction on BLM lands. The Las Cruces District Office fire management staff have been key collaborators in our efforts to restore periodic natural fire to the landscape. Myles Traphagen reported the results of his re-examination of vegetation plots that were established to monitor effects on vegetation in the Maverick and the Thomas Tank prescribed burns. His presentation included an examination of weather and the changing climate on the vegetation in the established plots.
Following the afternoon break, Charles Curtin revisited his work with prescribed fire on the McKinney Flats experimental project. He then segued to a wider ranging look at the interactions between fires and grazing on western grasslands. Gerald Gottried, with the Rocky Mountain Research Station, closed the conference with a report describing fire effects from both prescribed burns and wildfire in the Madrean oak savanna experimental area of the Cascabel Ranch.
On the morning of January 8th, the staff and board members in attendance met with our Science Advisors at the Malpai Ranch. Matt Goode, with the University of Arizona, brought us up to date on ongoing herpetological research in the Malpai borderlands. Don Decker filled us in on the recently completed Arizona portion of the comprehensive fire plan and plans for future prescribed burns in Arizona. Finally, we had a wide-ranging post-mortem of the conference on Tuesday and discussed planning and programs for next year’s conference.