Sabino Canyon supports a wide variety of wildlife because it is a botanically diverse natural landscape. However, the recreation area is subject to continual ecological disturbance by intensive human use and natural flooding, both of which encourage invasive plants that deprive wildlife of food, shelter and reproductive opportunities.
Controlling invasive plants
Keeping wildlife habitat healthy requires controlling the invasive plants crowding out natives. Sabino’s Problem with Invasive Plants describes this dynamic relationship of invasive versus native plants. Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists promote conservation through public interpretation about invasive species and we also help identify and remove them. Click here for information on Sabino Stewards’ volunteer opportunities with Sky Island Alliance.
Giant Reed: A Sabino Success Story
Native Sonoran Desert plants have returned to Sabino Creek in great profusion in creekside locations that were once overrun by 25-ft. high thickets of the invasive Giant Reed. From 2008-2010 hundreds of people volunteered for the difficult work of removing the non-native cane. Here’s a 6-minute video update on Sabino’s recovery.
Buffelgrass: An Ecological Emergency
Two Recent University of Arizona Studies
Documents the transformation of rich Sonoran Desert upland habitat of 15-20 plant species into an impoverished landscape containing only 2-5 species. The longer Buffelgrass remains on a site, the more species richness and diversity decline. Full study here.
Documents the rate at which Catalina Mountains Buffelgrass is spreading. Doubles in acreage every 2.26-7.04 years. Full study here.