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Species & Habitat Conservation

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Conservation of Threatened Species and Habitats

“Conservation is humanity caring for the future.” Nancy Newhall


Have you heard the word “biodiversity”? For the Desert Botanical Garden, biodiversity is a touchstone for what we do. This word refers to all the forms of life on the planet, from the many different forms of plants and animals, the communities that species form, and even the genes that make each and every one of us what we are. We at the Desert Botanical Garden have a commitment to conserve the biodiversity of the desert regions of North America, with an emphasis on the Southwestern United States.

It’s a big job! Why are we working so hard?

The Convention on Biological Diversity states it very well:

Protecting biodiversity is in our self-interest. Biological resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Nature's products support such diverse industries as agriculture, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, horticulture, construction and waste treatment. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines and energy. It also interferes with essential ecological functions.”

What we're doing to conserve biodiversity:


Desert Botanical Garden coordinates and leads the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance

The Central Arizona Conservation Alliance is a partnership of scientists, land managers, educators, community members, and other conservation-based non-profit organizations focused on the sustainability of the mountain parks and preserve system in and around the Phoenix metro area. The Alliance's vision is a sustainable preserve system that supports healthy ecosystems and provides beautiful, safe open spaces for recreation, education, and relaxation. It's mission is to foster community engagement in the study, restoration, and promotion of our mountain parks and preserves.

For more information about the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, please visit mymountainparks.org

Conservation Genetics

The Garden is somewhat unique in that we are one of a handful of gardens having onsite molecular labs in which to conduct genetic research. Many of the molecular projects we work on involve conservation genetics, the study of genetic diversity in populations of rare species.

Genetic diversity underlies all biological diversity and plays a vital role in the long-term persistence of species. In fact, genetic diversity is recognized by the international Convention on Biological Diversity as one of the three main types of biodiversity that are to be priorities for conservation. Studying genetic diversity can help us make better conservation plans by shedding light on difficult aspect of species biology and by identifying conservation priorities. Here at the Garden, we are using conservation genetic tools such as DNA fingerprinting, microsatellites, and DNA sequencing to learn more about a number of rare plant species. By integrating this genetic information with other types of studies, we are identifying new species from the Grand Canyon, determining correct species identities for cacti, Phlox, and other desert species, and informing reintroduction efforts for endangered plant species.

Center for Plant Conservation

The Desert Botanical Garden is a founding member of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), a national consortium of 36 botanical gardens and arboreta dedicated to saving America's endangered plants. In 1987 the Desert Botanical Garden was selected to serve as the Southwest regional garden. The southwestern region of the CPC consists primarily of Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave. deserts, extending from southeastern California, across southern Arizona to southwestern New Mexico and western Texas.

The Garden currently maintains a collection of 52 species of rare southwestern plants that are part of the CPC National Collection of rare U.S. plant taxa. We are conducting active research on many of these species.

Desert Botanical Garden’s CPC species:

Species

Range

Endowment Status

Abutilon parishii

AZ

 

Agave arizonica

AZ

fully endowed

Agave delameteri

AZ

 

Agave parviflora

AZ

 

Agave schottii var. treleasei

AZ

 

Amoreuxia gonzalezii

AZ

 

Amsonia grandiflora

AZ

 

Amsonia kearneyana

AZ

fully endowed

Amsonia tharpii

TX, NM

 

Ancistrocactus tobuschii

TX

 

Astragalus hypoxylus

AZ

 

Astrophytum asterias

TX

 

Bonamia ovalifolia

TX

 

Castilleja elongata

AZ, NM, CO, TX

 

Cirsium vinaceum

NM

 

Coryphantha albicolumnaria (Escobaria albicolumnaria)

TX

 

Coryphantha minima

TX

 

Coryphantha ramillosa

TX

 fully endowed

Coryphantha recurvata

AZ

 

Coryphantha robbinsorum

AZ

 

Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina

AZ

 

Coryphantha sneedii var. leei

NM

 

Coryphantha sneedii var. sneedii

NM, TX

 

Cryptantha crassipes

NM, TX

 

Dalea tentaculoides

AZ

 

Echinocactus horizonthalonius var. nicholii

AZ

 

Echinocereus chisoensis var. chisoensis

TX

 

Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albertii

TX

 

Echinocereus reichenbachii var. fitchii

TX

 

Echinocereus viridiflorus var. davisii

TX

 

Echinomastus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus

AZ

 

Echinomastus erectocentrus var. acunensis

AZ

 

Epithelantha bokei

TX

fully endowed

Eriogonum gypsophilum

NM

fully endowed

Festuca ligulata

TX

 

Fryxellia pygmaea

TX

 

Genistidium dumosum

TX

 

Graptopetalum bartramii

AZ

 

Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes

CA, AZ

 

Kallstroemia perennans

TX

 

Lilaeopsis schaffneriana var. recurva

AZ

fully endowed

Macroptilium supinum

AZ

 

Mammillaria thornberi

AZ

 

Peniocereus greggii var. transmontanus

AZ

 

Pholisma arenarium

CA, AZ

 

Pholisma sonorae

CA, AZ

fully endowed

Proboscidea sabulosa

NM, TX

 

Rhus kearneyi

AZ

 

Sclerocactus mariposensis

TX

 

Spiranthes delitescens

AZ

 

Talinum humile

AZ, NM

 

Tumamoca macdougalii

AZ

fully endowed

 

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Early Closures for Luminaria

The Garden’s annual holiday event, Las Noches de las Luminarias, continues throughout December. The Garden will close at 4 p.m. with last admission at 3 p.m. each evening of Luminaria to prepare for the event. Early closure dates are:

  • December 19 – 23, 26 – 30


The Garden will also close at 4 p.m. with last admissions at 3 p.m. on December 24, 2014.

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