Arizona Wildlife Notebook Second Edition

Arizona Wildlife Notebook Introduction

Base Layer for Notebook Cover

Base Layer for Notebook Cover

The second edition of my “Arizona Wildlife Notebook” will be off to the printer (CreateSpace) as soon as I finish the cover.  This edition has introductions and checklists for 12 groups of Arizona animal species:  Amphibians, ants, bats, birds, butterflies and moths, dragonflies and damselflies, fish, grasshoppers, lizards, mammals, snakes, and turtles.  Groups in bold type are new to the Notebook.  The introduction to each group covers the group’s conservation issues and provides references for printed and online field guides.  The checklist for each group includes scientific and common names and conservation status.  I alphabetized each checklist by scientific name, and I included an index for all the common names.

I assembled the notebook to have a single place to gather notes from my journal and from the margins of my field guides.  My Nature Conservation page has links to descriptions and checklists for the species groups .

Species checklists are most useful when they cover small areas.  Checklists for valleys, mountains, urban areas, and yards are ideal, but very few are available.  The species checklists in this notebook cover Arizona, an area of more than 100,000 square miles (almost 300,000 km2).  I hope that Notebook users will record species seen around their homes, parks, or neighborhoods.  Their records will become resources for future naturalists.

Nature Conservation

The U. S. government became active in nature conservation more than a century ago.  The original goal was to end abusive land-use practices.  The chief argument was, and still is, that healthy land produces the most benefit for the most people.  Homocentric management of nature for people has names such as “multiple use sustained yield management,” “sustainable development,” and “permaculture.”  After a century of such management, the health of large areas of the nation’s public lands have deteriorated beyond recovery.  Forest clear cutting, excessive livestock grazing, unrestrained water use, and poor farming practices have worn away the land’s health, and they still dominate U. S. land use management.

Some people argued that nature must be managed for its intrinsic value, not just for its benefits for people.  Aldo Leopold defined this concept as the land ethic.  “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the [Human] community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively:  the land” (Leopold 1949:  204).  Unfortunately, Homocentrism dominates, and the land ethic has attained only peripheral influence on national land management agencies.

Maintaining healthy ecosystems for human benefit is increasingly difficult because human demands for food, energy, and housing are increasing.  Between the years 1960 and 2000, Arizona’s population grew from 1.3 million to 5.1 million.  By 2025, the U. S. Census Bureau projects that Arizona’s population will reach 9.5 million (http://census.gov).  Of course, many places have similar projections.  It is essential that people learn what the consequences of their needs are and begin to act responsibly toward plants, animals, and ecosystems.

Arizona Species Conservation Status

Each of the checklists includes species conservation status.  I obtained the status information from the October 10, 2013 table posted on the Internet by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (http://azgfd.gov).  The table below shows group status for species that AZGFD specialists consider critically imperiled (S1), imperiled (S2), and vulnerable (S3).  It also shows group status according to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Threatened (LT) and Endangered (LE) species.  I didn’t include butterflies, moths, damselflies, and dragonflies in this table because the status of most species in those groups is unknown.

Many species that the AZGFD says are critically imperiled are not given national recognition and protection by the U. S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It seems that only after species are mostly gone that protection becomes available.  Thus, the ESA achieves very little overall protection from biodiversity loss.

ARIZONA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION STATUS

Species Group

Total  minus Exotic & Extinct

AZGFD

S1+S2+S3

ESA

LT,LE

Amphibians

31

18 (58%)

2

Birds

451

260 (58%)

9

Fish

40

40 (100%)

13

Lizards

67

27 (40%)

0

Mammals

189

64 (34%)

15

Snakes

76

35 (46%)

1

Turtles

10

6 (67%)

2

TOTAL

864

450 (52%)

42

The third column shows how many species AZGFD considers at risk.  For instance, all native Arizona fish species are at risk, and about one-third of native Arizona mammals are at risk.

References

I listed a few references in the introduction to each species group, and included links to important Internet sites.  If one of the links fails, try going to the root directory and performing a search.  For example, the address of the Endangered Species Act on the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service website might change.  You would then go to http://fws.gov and search for Endangered Species Act.

Wildlife Notebook Introduction References

5 thoughts on “Arizona Wildlife Notebook Second Edition

  1. Garry, I apologise for missing you off my recent post which also appraised those conservationist folk whom I owe a great deal of gratitude to. No doubt, another posting will be forthcoming to cover up my mistakes. I follow so many great blogs, can that truly be a valid enough excuse? Hope you’re well and the weather isn’t so bad in Arizona right now.

    Best Wishes

    Tony

    Like

  2. Pingback: 350 New Bird Species; More Than 25% Threatened | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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