The Desert Southwest is one of the fastest changing places in the United States - the population is exploding, new land is being developed at a rapid pace, temperatures day and night are increasing, and precipitation is becoming less regular and more stormy.
Regional climate resiliency, for people and wildlife alike, is low.
Colleagues at the University of Arizona have mapped human populations in the Tucson Basin that are vulnerable to heat and a changing climate as well as parts of the city most lacking shade and heat-mediating trees. Tucson Audubon is working to directly address these issues with our Urban Habitats Restoration program, making our urban areas more livable for humans and wildlife alike, as well as our building Environmental Justice program.
A changing climate doesn’t only affect urban areas, though! We’re also working to help the keystone species of the Sonoran Desert adapt to changing conditions with major projects focused on saguaros, through advocacy for native plants, and through research on climate change adaptation using niche modeling for Yellow-billed Cuckoos.
We also directly apply climate adaptation efforts on projects to provide species refugia for threatened and endangered fish and plants.
Urban Habitats Restoration
We’re working with numerous partners to create more habitat throughout urban areas. This includes residential yards through our Habitat at Home program, schoolyards, turning neighborhood-scale stormwater management projects into functional and attractive habitat, and working with municipalities to better manage their open spaces.
More info to come…
Saguaro Climate Adaptation and Post-burn Restoration
Saguaros move slowly through the landscape, more slowly than their habitat is expected to change. We’re helping protect the last great stands of saguaros, helping move them to areas that will be good habitat in the future, and replanting them after burns wipe them out – all so that the species that rely on them will have saguaros aplenty long into the future.
Yellow-billed Cuckoos (niche modeling)
We’re working with partners at the US Forest Service to determine where adequate habitat for the threatened western Yellow-billed Cuckoo is likely to be in the future in Arizona. This helps prioritize areas to conserve, and areas to restore or augment that will likely become habitat in the future!
Rare Species Refugia
With numerous partners, we’ve worked on projects to create refugia – well-managed backup breeding populations – for Gila topminnows, desert pupfish, Huachuca water-umbel, Arizona eryngo, and monarch butterflies.