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major plant communities of saguaro

In any region where a great range of altitude exists, the vegetation grows in a continuum of overlapping but recognizable zones. Climate being the major controlling factor of this zonal distribution, the plants of each band grow higher on south-facing slopes than on cooler, moister north slopes. In Saguaro the major plant communities roughly correspond to altitudinal bands—with the desert at the lower, drier levels, and the transition through grasses and shrubland to forest community occurring with increasing altitude (and increasing rainfall). Timberline—the boundary between high mountain forests and the alpine meadows and barrens—does not exist in Saguaro, where trees clothe the highest peaks.

Saguaro National Monument—Tucson Mountain Section.

The fauna of each community is made up of animals adapted to the climatic conditions and the available food, cover, and water. In Saguaro, some animals, such as the desert kangaroo rat and the cactus wren, are restricted by their life requirements to a narrow belt; others, such as the gray fox and great horned owl, are more adaptable and live in all the major plant communities.

Saguaro National Monument—Rincon Mountain Section.

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Last Modified: Sat, Nov 4 2006 10:00:00 pm PST

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