The History of the Santa Rita Experimental Range (adapted from Medina 1996)
The Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER) was established in 1902 to understand the ecosystem and apply sustainable management practices. Accumulated information on the ecology of the semidesert system at SRER is more complete than for any other tract of comparable size and diversity (Martin and Reynolds 1973). The research results have worldwide applicability to other semidesert regions. Research conducted on SRER and other experimental ranges addressed the need to build a sound body of scientific knowledge to further the restoration, protection, and management of rangelands in the arid Southwest.
In the early 1970s, the USD Agricultural Research Service Southwest Watershed Research Center established 8 instrumented watersheds that record rainfall, runoff, and sediment yield for each storm event. Those watersheds have been the site of several land use treatments and resulting publications. Data from the watersheds can be obtained at https://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/dap/.
Beginning in 2012, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) established a 30-year research program measuring atmospheric and ecosystem gas exchanges, invertebrates, reptiles, birds, mammals, and soil properties. The NEON program on the SRER is referred to as the Desert Southwest Domain Center, and all data collected is available to the public at https://www.neonscience.org/data-samples. The NEON data for the SRER are available on this website at NEON.
The Santa Rita Experimental Range: History and Annotated Bibliography (1903-1988) publication by Alvin Medina (1996) provides a comprehensive summary of the SRER history and all known research made between 1903 and 1988 on the SRER and by SRER researchers. It also includes historic maps and lists of soils, vertebrates, and plants found on the SRER.
Medina's publication as well as its contents are available below for download. Most recent references of research carried out on the SRER from 1951 to date can be found at Publications.
Martin, S. Clark; Reynolds, Hudson G. 1973. The Santa Rita Experimental Range: Your facility for research on semidesert ecosystems. Journal of the Arizona Academy of Science. 8: 56-67.
Medina, Alvin L. 1996. The Santa Rita Experimental Range: History and Annotated Bibliography (1903-1988). General Technical Report RM-GTR-276 Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture. 67 p.