“The diversity of life forms, so numerous that we have yet
to identify most of them, is the greatest wonder of this planet.”
~ E.O. Wilson
Scottsdale Community College is situated on 160 acres leased from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The campus is comprised of a variety of habitats ranging from urban to desert, with approximately three-quarters of the land developed.
What is Biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the “variety of life,” including varied organisms, their genes, and their ecosystems. This diversity is continually changing through the Earth’s and our lifetimes. Biological diversity today is in decline due to many factors like over-exploitation, pollution and disease. The greatest contributor to this loss is habitat destruction. Our home, the Sonoran Desert, is not exempt from species loss. In Arizona alone, 46 species are federally listed as endangered or threatened species and the state has lost 90% of its riparian ecosystems since the 1920s.
In 1990, Arizona voters approved an initiative to “preserve, protect and enhance” Arizona’s wildlife and biological diversity. What we consider pristine nature is based upon our experiences with the natural world in our youth and knowing what species once existed in a given region compared to what lives there today. Preserving biodiversity has human, ecological and ethical values.
The Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College is involved in the preservation and protection of Arizona’s biodiversity. In order to better understand the changes over time in our local biodiversity, we need comprehensive baseline data, including inventories of species routinely or periodically inhabiting our area. We have partnered with several organizations to help in biodiversity improvements in our community.
BIODIVERSITY: To learn more read Professor Roy Barnes’ essay.