We conducted inventories for amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals; and summarized past inventories for vascular plants at Coronado National Memorial (NM) in Arizona. We used our data as well as data from previous research to compile species lists for the memorial, assess inventory completeness, and make suggestions on future monitoring efforts.
There have been 940 species of plants and vertebrates recorded at Coronado NM (Table 1), of which 46 (5%) are non-native. The species richness of the memorial is one of the highest in the Sonoran Desert Network of park units, third only to park units that are two and one-half (Chiricahua National Monument), 19 (Saguaro National Park) and 70 (Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument) times larger in area. The high species diversities are due to the large elevational gradient, overlap of bigeographical regions, wide range of geology and soils, and diverse vegetation communities present at the memorial.
Changes in species composition have occurred at the memorial over the last 20 years in all major taxonomic groups. These changes are likely due to increases in grassy plant species (both native and non-native) at the lower elevations of the memorial. We suspect that grassy plant cover has increased because of changes in grazing intensity, introduction of some non-native species, and a recent fire. All recent vertebrate inventories have yielded grassland obligate species not previously recorded at the memorial.
Based on the review of past studies, we believe the inventory for most taxa, except bats, is nearly complete, though some rare or elusive species will likely be added with additional survey effort.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Vascular Plant and Vertebrate Inventory of Coronado National Memorial