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/
Annual Science Conference
The Malpai Borderlands Group’s 2013 Science Conference was convened at the Cochise College Little Theater on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. Attendance was down a little this year from the past two or three years, but we still had one hundred and seven people register for this year’s meeting. Executive Director and Board Member Bill McDonald welcomed attendees to kick off the conference.
Our Keynote Speaker was Jesse J. Juen, the State Director for the Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico State Office. Mr. Juen presented a comprehensive overview and history of the New Mexico BLM’s “Restore New Mexico” initiative. He described the New Mexico BLM’s new, more efficient approaches to treating degraded rangelands. He stressed that the overarching goal is to “leave the land in better shape than we found it.”
Mr. Juen’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion focusing on landscape restoration in Chihuahuan Desert Rangelands. MBG rancher Anna Magoffin led off with an account of her ranch’s challenges in undertaking rangeland restoration on a public land ranch. Dr. Nathan Sayre summarized the results of his research on the history of rangeland research efforts.
Ray Lister described the Las Cruces BLM’s work with new methods of site selection and treatment application undertaken with the cooperation of the Jornada Experimental Range (JER). Dr. Brandon Bestelmeyer, a rangeland ecologist with JER, related how ecological mapping and analyses of state and transition models have contributed to the Las Cruces BLM’s improved track record in rangeland restoration.
After Don Decker, our NRCS Malpai Coordinator, summarized his work in rangeland restoration with ranchers in the MBG planning area, the panelists responded to questions and comments from the audience. After the panel discussion, Dr. Dean Lueck, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona, wrapped up the morning session with a preliminary look at the economics of Federal fire policy.
The afternoon session began with Sherry Barrett, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator, presenting an update on the status of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. Rodrigo Sierra Corona, a researcher with the Institute of Ecology at the National University of Mexico, described his work with prairie dogs and cattle on the complex of black-tailed prairie dog towns near Janos, Chihuahua.
Ann M. Lynch, a research scientist with the Rocky Mountain Experiment Station, presented the results of her work with changes in forest insect populations in the Madrean Pine-oak Woodlands of the southwest. Dr. William Doelle wrapped up the final session with a description of the work by his group, Archeology Southwest, in identifying, preserving and interpreting archeological sites.
On Wednesday morning, the staff and a few board members met with our Science Advisors who were in attendance at the Malpai Office. After soliciting feedback on the Tuesday Science Conference, we discussed the theme for the 2014 Science Conference. We will focus on fire in the Malpai Borderlands and what we have accomplished and failed to accomplish with our fire management efforts.