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CONSERVATION

Biodiversity and Citizen Science

Citizen Action for Species, Ecosystems Conservation & Monitoring

We consolidate voluntary citizen networks, trained and certified to monitor biodiversity, and to collaborate in restoring landscapes and protect priority species in the North and Upper Gulf of California.

The Northern Gulf of California and the Sonoran Desert are recognized for their great biodiversity and the cultural heritage of the Papago Pueblo. Three protected natural areas converge there: The Upper Gulf and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, and the Flora and Fauna Reserve of the Islands of the Gulf of California.

The Northern Gulf of California and the Sonoran Desert are recognized for their great biodiversity and the cultural heritage of the Papago Pueblo. Three protected natural areas converge there: The Upper Gulf and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, and the Flora and Fauna Reserve of the Islands of the Gulf of California.

 

satellite image of ocean and desert Baja California

The area comprises tidal flats, wide expanses of arid desert, wetlands and marine habitats, such as reefs and soft bottoms, which generate key ecological services for humans. The wetlands are essential components of the connectivity between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and regional fisheries productivity.

Likewise, wetlands are home to migratory birds in the Pacific Flyway and act as mitigation and adaptation zones for climate change and the reduction of the impact of extreme hydrometeorological events.

In addition, the Sonoran Desert offers high landscape value elements that are unique in the world due to the complexity of their habitats that are home to numerous iconic species such as the vaquita marina, a third of the planet’s marine mammal diversity, least tern and sea lion populations, white shark feeding areas, and desert landscapes that host volcanoes, dunes, and plant landscapes of cholla, saguaro, sinita, and ocotillo, and animal species such as pronghorn and bighorn sheep from Sonora. This is a unique region where two of the most diverse and fascinating ecosystems—the Sonoran Desert and the Sea of Cortez—meet.

WHAT WE DO - Our Goals

 

  • Contribute to the conservation of terrestrial, freshwater and marine species and ecosystems in the Gulf of California and the Sonoran Desert ecoregion.
  • Promote a network of community monitors through NaturArte, our ecotourism and experiential learning program.
  • Promote ecotourism and rural and scientific tourism activities in the region.

WHERE WE WORK - Local Context

The Sea of Cortez is home to at least 1,050 known species of marine invertebrates, 230 fish species, 131 bird species, 13 marine mammal species, and 5 sea turtle species.

The desert houses at least 506 vascular plant species, thousands of invertebrate species, 2 native freshwater fish species, 4 native amphibian species, 44 native reptile species, 237 resident and migratory bird species, and 38 native mammal species. The Reserve’s most famous animal is the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope, the fastest land mammal in North America.

The Upper Gulf contains the Vaquita habitat. The Vaquita is the most threatened marine mammal on the planet.

The area contains marine, terrestrial and island environments recognized as World Natural Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Two Biosphere reserves and a Flora and Fauna Protection Area and two Ramsar sites are also part of the region.

There are at least 64 hectares of coastal and marine habitats identified as generators of key ecological services for local fisheries.

2.5 million tourists visit the area for sun and beach fun, recreational fishing, ecotourism, and rural and scientific tourism.

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