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Biodiversity and Species Conservation

FSD supports conservation of the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert including the Sea of Cortez. A top priority project is using the best available scientific data to create wildlife management policies that will enable wildlife to move back and forth across the U.S./Mexican border. Another initiative is the creation of a comprehensive list of the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert, including IUCN Red List assessments of their conservation status and threats to their survival.

Gila monster

Corridors for Wildlife

Our Sonoran Desert Conservation References contain many examples of how barriers placed to protect inter-country borders can take into account natural wildlife corridors (which contain ready access to food and water) without compromising border security. Knowing where vital sources of water and forage are located is crucial to the design of border barriers that will not fatally impact wildlife; if animals on the move cannot find water, for example, they will not survive.

Border barriers impact wildlife

Species of the Sonoran Desert

FSD has partnered with IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other organizations to conserve Sonoran Desert biodiversity. Because our top priority is to protect species whose status is threatened, we are working to complete comprehensive Sonoran Desert species assessments for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ( As the status of most of the vertebrates has already been determined, we will focus our efforts on assessing the current status of the more than 4,000 species of Sonoran Desert plants. The resulting data will greatly expand the current state of biodiversity knowledge and catalyze conservation actions across the entire Sonoran Desert.

Antelope jack rabbit
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