Madrean Sky Islands
sky islands are enclaves of Madrean pine-oak woodlands, found at higher elevations in a complex of small mountain ranges in southern Arizonaand New Mexicoand northern Mexico. The sky islands are surrounded at lower elevations by the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.
The sky islands are the northernmost of the Madrean pine-oak woodlands, and are classified as part of the
Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion. The sky islands were isolated from one another and from the pine-oak woodlands of the Sierra Madre Occidentalto the south by the warming and drying of the climate since the ice ages.
There are approximately 27 Madrean sky islands in the United States, and 15 in northern Mexico. The major Madrean sky island ranges in the United States are the
Baboquivari Mountains, Chiricahua Mountains, Pinaleño Mountains, Santa Catalina Mountains, and Santa Rita Mountains.
* [http://www.skyislandalliance.org/ Sky Island Alliance homepage]
* [http://biology.usgs.gov/s+t/noframe/r119.htm Southwestern Sky Island Ecosystems (US Geologic Survey)]
* [http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/ecoregions/50302frame.htm Madrean Sky Islands Montane Forests images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu] ( [http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/ecoregions/50302.htm slow modem version] )
* [http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/na/na0302_full.html Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak woodlands (World Wildlife Fund)]
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