CHIRICAHUA Field Report 2021-2023 - Sky Islands and the Desert Southwest An Independent Ecological Study

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candace gossen 


This Chiricahua Field Report is a combination of collected data and field observations that began in November 2021 and continued on until May 2023. The Report is about ecology and connections of life. It contains information on 400+ trees in 10 diverse ecosystems including the Madrean Sky Islands and the Riparian zones of ancient sea valleys in SE Arizona. Recent season changes, warming, fires, drought, and in contrast one of the wettest years in history including more than 90 inches of snow are noted. These stories include magnificent details of a living forest in a remnant of a super-volcano, including mushrooms that change color with rainfall, endangered orchids that bloom for only one day, flowers of cacti that open for only one morning, coati that have unique tail patterns and the chance discovery of jaguar prints to give hope again. One year, as a Park Ranger at Chiricahua National Monument has added insight into daily observations, we are the stewards of the past, present and future of wildness. Wildness in the animal world is reserved to only 4% of the planets millions of animals, Wildness is why people come to the National Parks and Forest, for they are the last stronghold of beauty that bears presence in each of our souls. As a Field Scientist it is all about observation over time, and if one is lucky, at the right time, in the right place, a story makes itself known. Nature is working together as allies to adapt and regrow the changing forests regenerating an ancient landscape and surviving climate change.



Desert Ecology, Earth Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Sciences


Chiricahua, trees, forest, fire, ecology, Desert, Southwest, sky island, jaguar, coati, climate change


Published: 2024-02-22 03:22

Last Updated: 2024-02-23 11:01

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data collected by author