Managing for Grassland Health at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Science Center Objects

Southern Arizona’s semi-desert grasslands provides habitat for flora and fauna, regulates rainfall infiltration and overland flow, mitigates surface erosion and dust production, and sequesters carbon. Sustainable management is important to maintain these ecological services and is of concern for the managers, ranchers, and other people associated with the grassland. The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR) in southern Arizona has over 110,000 acres of semi-desert grasslands, 94% of the refuge’s total area. The refuge supports recovery of masked bobwhite quail and the Pima pineapple cactus and provides resources for five bat species of special concern, 142 resident and migratory grassland bird species including the threatened yellow-billed-cuckoo, and the petitioned monarch butterfly. Markedly, 43% of BANWR’s 142 documented bird species utilize the grasslands during their life cycle. The goal of this study is to provide BANWR’s resource managers scientific evidence to inform best practices of grassland management, including invasive species management and potential restoration of seed and nectar bearing plants and their associated insect pollinators.