The trip that I have planned through Arizona is one that will take us Northeast for the most part. On this trip, we will be traveling through about six different biomes, all of which are in state!
The first area that I plan to visit is the Sonoran Desert Scrub area. This biome has an elevation below 3,500 feet and covers much of Southern and Central Arizona. This area also receives a lot of rain during both the summer and winter seasons. Although Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert Scrub area, I would nevertheless like to travel just over an hour outside of the city so that I can see a more natural and not as heavily populated area.
The Sonoran desert scrub biome is home to many communities of life. These communities include:
- Plants such as saguaros, chollas, mesquites, and ironwood.
- Animals such as Javelinas, Gila Monsters, and Cactus Wren.
The second stop on the list is the Chaparral biome, just outside of the Sonoran desert scrub biome. The Chaparral is a mountainous area ranging from about 4,000-6,000 feet in elevation and receives 10-17 inches, on average, of rain annually.
The Chaparral native life includes:
- Mammals such as mule deer, elk, and cottontail rabbits.
- Many lizards and snakes.
- Birds such as scrub jay, canyon wren, and black chinned sparrow.
- Plants such as mountain mahogany, prickly pear cactus, agave, yucca, and many more.
The third will be the Montane Conifer Forest biome. This biome’s elevation ranges from 8,000-10,000 feet and receives approximately 25-30 inches of rainfall per year.
The Montane Conifer Forest biome life includes:
- Mammals such as black bears, elk, and mule deer.
- Birds such Western bluebird, turkey, goshawk, and Northern flicker
- Plants such as Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, white pine, and quaking aspen.
Next is the Great Basin Grassland biome. This lush biome is above 3,500 feet with 12-35 inches of rainfall per year. Although summer temperatures can get very high, winter temperatures can get very low.
The Great Basin Grassland biome life includes:
- Mammals such as prairie dogs.
- Plants such as prickly-pear cactus, yucca, mesquite, and many grasses.
After that I plan to visit the Great Basin Desert Scrub biome which is just past the Great Basin Grassland. This biome is between 282 and 1,300 feet in elevation. The summers are hot and dry while the winters are rather cool and snowy.
The Great Basin Desert Scrub biome’s life includes:
- Mammals such as coyote, jackrabbit, and pronghorn.
- Birds such as sage thrasher and sage sparrow.
- Plants such as sage brush, blackbrush, greasewood, rabbitbrush, and shadscale.
The last biome on the agenda is the Mojave Desert Scrub biome. This biome is between 2,000 and 5,000 feet in elevation and receives only about 4-6 inches of rainfall per year. It has hot and dry summers, along with cool winters.
The Mojave Desert Scrub biome’s life includes:
- Mammals such as the desert bighorn sheep and many rodents.
- A variety of snakes and lizards.
- A variety of birds.
- Plants such as Joshua tree, and some low shrubs.
The trip back to Phoenix will be very similar. We will drive Southwest and stop as we wish.