SWAP Habitat
Madrean Lowland Evergreen Woodland
NVC Name
Madrean Lowland Evergreen Woodland
SWAP General Vegetation Type
ALPINE and MONTANE VEGETATION
The Madrean Lowland Evergreen Woodland [M010] (also known as oak woodland or encinal) occurs at elevations of 1,300-2,225 m (4,265-7,230 ft) in foothills, canyons, gently sloping alluvial fan piedmonts (bajadas), steeper colluvial foothill slopes, ridges, and mesa tops of the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains and Madrean Archipelago ecoregions. It also occurs in isolated locations of the Chihuahuan Desert and High Plains and Tablelands ecoregions. At the upper elevation limit, woodlands can be found as small-patch stands in a mosaic with Madrean montane forests. This habitat is characterized by a short (3-15 m (10-49 ft)), open to closed canopy of evergreen, conifer, and broad-leaved trees. Diagnostic species may have their center of distribution southward in the Sierra Madre of Mexico and include alligator juniper, Mexican piñon, border piñon (Pinus discolor), Arizona white oak (Quercus arizonica), Emory oak (Q. emoryi), gray oak (Q. grisea), and Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia). At the northern end of the range, communities may be dominated or codominated by northern tree species, including oneseed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) and two-needle piñon (Pinus edulis), but Madrean species will always be present. The understory may be sparse on some substrates or dominated by shrubs or grasses. Common shrubs include sacahuista (Nolina microcarpa), pungent oak (Q. pungens), Sonoran scrub oak (Q. turbinella), skunkbush sumac (Rhus aromatica), and banana yucca (Yucca baccata). Madrean grass species, such as bullgrass, longtongue muhly (M. longiligula), New Mexico muhly, piñon ricegrass (Piptochaetium fimbriatum), Pringle’s speargrass (P. pringlei), and Texas bluestem (Schizachyrium cirratum), can be abundant. Fire regimes vary from stand-replacing, high severity but infrequent fires (or no fires) to low severity, surface fires of savannas.

Species that live in Madrean Lowland Evergreen Woodland

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