Baja California Desert

The Baja California Desert is a desert ecoregion of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.[1] This ecoregion occupies the western portion of the Baja California peninsula, and occupies most of the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Baja California. It covers 77,700 square kilometers (30,000 square miles). The climate is dry, but the close proximity of the Pacific Ocean provides humidity and moderates the temperature. The flora mostly consists of xeric shrubs and over 500 species of recorded vascular plants.

Baja California Desert

Geography and climate

The ecoregion covers 77,700 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) and includes most of the Peninsula's western slope. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Peninsular Ranges and is centered on the coordinates 27°44′N 113°36′W / 27.74°N 113.6°WCoordinates: 27°44′N 113°36′W / 27.74°N 113.6°W.[2] North of 30° north latitude, the Baja California desert transitions to the California chaparral and woodlands. The southern tip of the peninsula lies within the San Lucan xeric scrub ecoregion. To the north are the Sierra Juárez and San Pedro Mártir pine-oak forests, where a number of tree species are found including the near-threatened California Fan Palm.[3]

The climate is dry and subtropical. Although rainfall is low, the Pacific Ocean provides some humidity and moderates the temperature compared to the Sonoran desert, which lies on the east slope of the Peninsular Ranges.

The Baja California Desert ecoregion occurs on the western portion of the Baja California peninsula and occupies most of the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Baja California. Elevation is variable, ranging from mountain ranges on the western central part (1000 - 1500m), plains of median elevation (300 – 600m), and vast extensions of coastal dunes.


The ecoregion is mostly covered by xeric shrubs, which create varying associations based on elevation and soil conditions. The ecoregion has close to 500 species of vascular plants, of which a number are endemic, for example the Boojum tree or Creeping Devil.


  1. ^ Taylor H. Ricketts, Eric Dinerstein, David M. Olson, Colby J. Loucks, et al. 1999
  2. ^ World Wildlife Fund. "Baja California desert ecoregion". Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009


External links

Baja California Peninsula

The Baja California Peninsula (English: Lower California Peninsula, Spanish: Península de Baja California) is a peninsula in Northwestern Mexico. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The peninsula extends 1,247 km (775 miles) from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south. It ranges from 40 km (25 miles) at its narrowest to 320 km (200 miles) at its widest point and has approximately 3,000 km (1,900 miles) of coastline and approximately 65 islands. The total area of the Baja California Peninsula is 143,390 km2 (55,360 sq mi).

The peninsula is separated from mainland Mexico by the Gulf of California and the Colorado River. There are four main desert areas on the peninsula: the San Felipe Desert, the Central Coast Desert, the Vizcaíno Desert and the Magdalena Plain Desert.

Fog desert

A fog desert is a type of desert where fog drip supplies the majority of moisture needed by animal and plant life.Examples of fog deserts include the Atacama Desert of coastal Chile and Peru, the Baja California Desert of Mexico, the Namib Desert in Namibia, the Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert, and Biosphere 2, an artificial closed ecosphere in Arizona.

The Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, is able to maintain a sufficient level of plant and animal species biodiversity because of its status as a fog desert.Drastic changes in elevation such as mountain ranges allow for maritime winds to settle in specific geographic areas, which is a common theme in fog deserts. The Andes Mountain range is the land form that divides Chile and Peru into inland and coastal regions and allows for the fog desert to form along the Pacific coast. In the Atacama Desert, plant coverage can be as high as 50% in the center fog zone to as low as no life whatsoever above the fog line. Within arid fog deserts with low precipitation levels, fog drip provides the moisture needed for agricultural development. The diverse sections within a fog desert region allow for the growth of a diverse group of plant structures such as succulents, deciduous species, and woody shrub.

Fouquieria columnaris

Fouquieria columnaris, the Boojum tree or cirio (American Spanish: [ˈsiɾjo]) is a tree in the ocotillo family, whose other members include the ocotillos. It is nearly endemic to the Baja California Peninsula (both the northern and southern states), with only a small population in the Sierra Bacha of Sonora, Mexico. The plant's English name, Boojum, was given by Godfrey Sykes of the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona and is taken from Lewis Carroll's poem "The Hunting of the Snark".

Gulf of California xeric scrub

The Gulf of California xeric scrub is a xeric shrubland ecoregion of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.

List of ecoregions in Mexico

This is a list of ecoregions of Mexico as defined by the World Wildlife Fund. A different system of ecoregional analysis is used by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a trilateral body linking Mexican, Canadian and United States environmental regime.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, formerly the Living Desert Museum, is a desert botanical garden and a zoo located in Palm Desert, Riverside County, California, United States. They are in the Sonoran Desert of the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mountains foothills near Palm Springs, California.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has been a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1983, and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). It has participated in species reintroduction programs including the peninsular bighorn sheep to the local mountains and returning Arabian oryx to Oman.

Nearctic realm

The Nearctic is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting the Earth's land surface.

The Nearctic realm covers most of North America, including Greenland, Central Florida, and the highlands of Mexico. The parts of North America that are not in the Nearctic realm are Eastern Mexico, Southern Florida, coastal Central Florida, Central America, and the Caribbean islands which are part of the Neotropical realm, together with South America.

New River Station

New River Station was a later station added into the Colorado Desert route of the Butterfield Overland Mail it was located 15 miles southeast of Indian Wells Station and 14 miles west of Alamo Mocho Station beside the New River. It was in operation until March 1861 when the Butterfield route was abandoned for the Central Route by the beginning of the American Civil War.

However the locality remained in use as a watering place for travelers on the Southern Emigrant Trail and was a post for Union Army units moving back and forth between California and Arizona Territory. In the journal of an 1861 march of California Volunteers to Fort Yuma, Lieut. Col. Joseph R. West described the old station:

October 30.- ... At New River, old mail station, deserted. Deep well of inferior water; a lagoon within 400 yards now affords a supply, but would fail after a long spell of dry weather; it cannot be relied upon. This station is a precarious one for water.

The New River Station was in use again by stagecoach lines from 1867 until 1877 when the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Fort Yuma. It was then abandoned.

Its location was probably in what is now Colonia Hidalgo, Mexicali beside the New River. Its location remains imprecise because the great flood of the Colorado River in 1905 dramatically transformed the landscape along the New River washing away this station site as well as that at Indian Wells.

Palm Walk

The Palm Walk is a pedestrian mall located on Arizona State University's Tempe campus that is lined with one hundred and eleven Mexican fan palms. Running from the foot of the University bridge to the north, to the Student Recreation Complex to the south, the path runs for almost four-tenths of a mile. The path itself follows the old alignment of Normal Avenue, before it was incorporated into the expanding college's campus.

Peninsular Ranges

The Peninsular Ranges (also called the Lower California province) are a group of mountain ranges that stretch 1,500 km (930 mi) from Southern California to the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula; they are part of the North American Coast Ranges, which run along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico. Elevations range from 500 to 10,834 feet (152 to 3,302 m).

Pray for the Wildcats

Pray for the Wildcats is a 1974 American made-for-television thriller film about a psychopathic business executive chasing his workers on dirtbikes through the desert after he killed a young man. The film was directed by Robert Michael Lewis and starred William Shatner and Andy Griffith, Robert Reed, Marjoe Gortner, Angie Dickinson, and Lorraine Gary. It originally aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on January 23, 1974.

Sierra Juárez and San Pedro Mártir pine-oak forests

The Sierra Juárez and San Pedro Mártir pine-oak forests is an ecoregion, in the Temperate coniferous forests biome, that covers the higher elevations of the Sierra Juárez and Sierra San Pedro Mártir ranges, of the Peninsular Ranges, in the northern Baja California Peninsula of Mexico, near the border with California (United States).

Sierra de San Francisco

The Sierra de San Francisco is a mountain range in Mulegé Municipality of the northern region of Baja California Sur state, in northwestern Mexico.

Sierra de San Pedro Mártir

Sierra de San Pedro Mártir (Kiliwa: ʔxaal haq, English: mountains of Saint Peter the Martyr) is a mountain range located within southern Ensenada Municipality and southern Baja California state, of northwestern Mexico.

It is a major mountain range in the long Peninsular Ranges System, that extends from Southern California down the Baja California Peninsula into Baja California Sur state.

Sierra de la Giganta

The Sierra de la Giganta is a mountain range of eastern Baja California Sur state, located on the southern Baja California Peninsula in northwestern Mexico.

It is a mountain range of the Peninsular Ranges System, which extends 1,500 km (930 mi) from Southern California, through the Baja California Peninsula in Baja California and Baja California Sur states.

Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Sonora) is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.

In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the Madrean Region in southwestern North America, part of the Holarctic Kingdom of the northern Western Hemisphere. The desert contains a variety of unique and endemic plants and animals, such as the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi).

Washingtonia robusta

Washingtonia robusta (Mexican fan palm or Mexican washingtonia) is a palm tree native to western Sonora, and Baja California Sur in northwestern Mexico. It is reportedly naturalized in Florida, California, Hawaii, Texas, parts of the Canary Islands, Italy, Spain, and Réunion,

North America
South America
Polar Regions

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.