The Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment (MABA) project is a ground-breaking effort to extend knowledge of animals and plants in the Sky Islands of Arizona and New Mexico southward into Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. The biodiversity in the Madrean Archipelago (also known as the Madrean Sky Islands) is recognized globally, but information about species distributions is critical to understanding and protecting biodiversity.
The goal of MABA is to document the biodiversity in the Sky Islands and complexes connected by oak woodland in the Madrean Archipelago. We organize and lead expeditions to select Sky Islands based on the need for information and the potential to help ongoing conservation efforts, protected area management, research, and education. During our expeditions, we engage local communities, schools, and universities with scientific experts and volunteers from the U.S. and Mexico, creating a link among people that share an interest and passion for wild places.
Our MABA Expeditions are week-long camping trips into the remote places of the Sonoran Sky Islands, like the Sierras Huérfana (Mazatán) and Sierra Los Ajos. We caravan and travel together in groups of upwards of 50 or 60 people, and stay on private ranches and designated protected areas courtesy of our local hosts. From the United States, Mexico and around the world, volunteer herpetologists, ornithologists, botanists, entomologists, mammal trackers, professional photographers, journalists and other intrepid explorers join landowners, land managers, professors, and students to help us delve into the biodiversity of these special and under-studied mountain ranges.
With each MABA Expedition we add about 1,000 to 1,200 new observations, or species records, to the MABA database. Our MABA Expeditions help raise awareness and appreciation of the beauty and value of the Sky Islands, encourage the study of natural history, and support their protection. And we are discovering new species to science!