Biological field stations

Proyectos

  • Prairie Biological Field Station

 

Prairie Biological Field Station

The Pradera Biological Station is located within the Janos Biosphere Reserve (JBR) in the State of Chihuahua in northern Mexico, which was decreed in 1999. The station was founded in 1998 and its objective was to function as a station field scientist and as the main center of operations for researchers and students conducting research in the region. The idea of ​​building a biology station in the Janos region began in 1991 when researchers and students began the first studies on the biodiversity of vertebrates in the colonies of the black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and observed a great biological diversity of vertebrates rare and never before recorded for an arid region of Mexico.

 

Ecological  Singularity

The Janos, Chihuahua region is one of extraordinary natural beauty. It is characterized by incredible landscapes with extensive plains that give an appearance of being endless as well as soft hills; on the horizon you can see the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental with majestic peaks and steep cliffs. The region is a very heterogeneous mosaic of plant communities. However, when a tour is made from the lower parts, the prairies are dominated by short grasslands characteristic of the great prairies of North America, in some places there are patches of mesquite, straw and cholla scrub. In the mountains there are abundant oak and pine forests, and in the more humid ravines there are splendid ash forests. Sycamores, walnut trees, and willows grow along the streams. All this makes the region have a gradient that is unusual in Mexico.

 

In the Pradera Biological Station, in addition to being surrounded by these types of vegetation, abundant wildlife is observed. Janos is a region of biological superlatives, it is home to more than 380 species of terrestrial vertebrates; 227 species of birds; 79 species of mammals; 41 species of reptiles; 13 species of amphibians and a diversity of invertebrates not yet recorded. In the Biological Station of the Prairie it is possible to find animal species of the most diverse and characteristic of North America. Janos wildlife includes bison, deer, pronghorn, black bears, cougars, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, raccoons, peccaries, rabbits, bobcats, hares, squirrels, bald and golden eagles, hawks, cranes, sparrows , plovers, owls, geese, snakes, frogs and fish. Many of these species, such as the bison, pronghorn, wolf and porcupine, which have been pushed to the brink of extinction by different human activities, find a last refuge in this region.

In the Pradera Biological Station, in addition to being surrounded by these types of vegetation, abundant wildlife is observed. Janos is a region of biological superlatives, it is home to more than 380 species of terrestrial vertebrates; 227 species of birds; 79 species of mammals; 41 species of reptiles; 13 species of amphibians and a diversity of invertebrates not yet recorded. In the Biological Station of the Prairie it is possible to find animal species of the most diverse and characteristic of North America. Janos wildlife includes bison, deer, pronghorn, black bears, cougars, plains dogs, bighorn sheep, raccoons, peccaries, rabbits, bobcats, hares, squirrels, bald and golden eagles, hawks, hawks, cranes, sparrows , plovers, owls, owls, geese, snakes, snakes, frogs and fish. Many of these species, such as the bison, pronghorn, wolf and porcupine, which have been pushed to the brink of extinction by different human activities, find a last refuge in this region. 

One of the emblematic species of Janos and for which we began research since the early 1990s, is the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) and the presence of one of its colonies in North America. With their daily activities, they keep grasslands open, limit scrub expansion, and prevent large-scale desertification. This, in turn, allows the presence of species at risk such as the golden eagle, burrowing owl and the desert fox, species that depend on plains dogs for food and / or shelter. They shelter dozens of species in their burrows and are preyed upon by many predators such as desert foxes, coyotes, and eagles. Other singularities of where the Prairie Biological Station in Janos is located is that it maintains the largest reproductive population of Burrowing Owl in the grasslands of North America, the largest population of golden eagle in Mexico and the only population of wild bison in the country. It is one of the most important wintering sites on the continent for grassland birds and nesting of the western highland parrot in the pine forest of the surrounding mountains. This is why the conservation of this region is so important to maintain the biological diversity of Mexico, which is why Janos has been considered a priority for the conservation of nature in North America.

Investigation

The Prairie Biological Station is located in the central part and privileged place of the JBR in a mosaic of different types of vegetation and with different uses and properties of land for agriculture and livestock. Where overgrazing and drought have left fragments of grasslands and an increase from year to year of mesquite bushes and gullies spread throughout the region.

 

This configuration makes the Pradera Biological Station an ideal place to carry out different and interesting reaserch of its flora and fauna, as well as studies on restoration and management of ecosystems. The Prairie Biological Station offers a wealth of opportunities to work on a wide number of species in the wild.

The research we have carried out in the last 30 years has focused on 3 fundamental axes:

Fundamental axes:

1. Ecology

Ecology of Populations and Communities

Biodiversity

Fragmentation

Key Species

Environmental services

 

2. Conservation

Reintroduction

Translocation

3. Management

Ecological restoration

Means

The Pradera Biological Station is designed for researchers, students and for conducting courses and for visitors. The station offers infrastructure for comfortable accommodation for up to 18 people on a one-hectare site that is equipped with:

 

  • Three full baths

  • Five rooms

  • Dinning room

  • Large room that also functions as an Auditorium

  • Laundry room

  • library

  • Laboratory

  • Kitchen

  • Wifi

  • Cupboard

  • Fridge

  • Drinking water

  • Educational resources at the station and an active environmental education program provide learning opportunities for local and international visitors.

How to get to the Pradera Biological Station

The Biological Station is located in the northwestern part of the state of Chihuahua, south of the border with the United States and east of Sonora, in the Provinces of Sierras y Llanuras del Norte and Sierra Madre Occidental. It is located within the Ejido San Pedro in the municipality of Janos, Chihuahua, Mexico (30 ° 51'34.4 "N 108 ° 23'25.0" W). It is located 220 km from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The trip by car from Ciudad Juarez to the Biological Station lasts 2 hours and 45 min.

 

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