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Southwest Natural Areas Research and Monitoring Network

- Climate-change detection from the local to regional scales
- Biodiversity composition and dynamics
- Vegetation patterns and processes, and more

Southwest Research Natural Areas (RNA) Database
- USDA Forest Service lands available for research and monitoring in New Mexico and Arizona.
- RNAs are protected from human-caused disturbance and are ideal for climate-change monitoring.
- A distributed network of sites representing the major ecological communities of the Southwest.


Find an RNA and associated data using this ArcGIS Web Viewer - see "ArcGIS Web Map Instructions" for help

USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region Research Natural Areas (RNAs)

A project supported by USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region and the Rocky Mountain Research Station. 

Recommended Citation: Muldavin, E., R. Norwood, R. McCollough, N. Moore, and J. Leonard. 2020. Using Research Natural Areas to Assess and Monitor Effects of Climate Change on Vegetation in the Southwest: the RNA Climate-Change Monitoring Network Database. Natural Heritage New Mexico, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Available at


Project Sponsors

Natural Heritage New MexicoU.S. Forest Service

Southwest Natural Areas Research and Monitoring Network

This is a project developed by NHNM in collaboration with the USFS and other agencies to support local- to regional-scale research and monitoring of species and ecosystems in the Southwest, including but not limited to the effects of climate change. Currently, the database contains USFS Research Natural Areas (RNAs), but work is ongoing to expand it to include other protected natural areas such as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), refuges, and preserves. We invite you to explore information about network sites through the ArcGIS Viewer, consider doing work on them for research and protection, and to suggest sites that should be added to the network.

For further information contact Dr. Esteban Muldavin