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Southern Semi-Arid Highlands

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Western Sierra Madre Piedmont
Mexican High Plateau

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About the Southern Semi-Arid Highlands

The Southern Semi-Arid Highlands run northwest to southeast along the Sierra Madre Occidental, and are mostly located within Mexico, with their northernmost tip stretching into southeastern Arizona and the southwesternmost corner of New Mexico.

This region is characterized by grasslands and scrublands, with some sparse forests at higher elevations. Grasses are the dominant plant species over much of this region. Species diversity increases as one moves southeast into the warmer regions of Mexico, but this region remains sparsely-vegetated and less biodiverse than nearby higher-rainfall regions that are mostly located southwest of this region, closer to the coast of Mexico. To the east of this region mostly lies desert.

Chiricahua National Monument in the southeast corner of Arizona is one of the few places where the Southern Semi-Arid Highlands intersect the continental U.S.; this ecoregion extends far south into Mexico. Photo © jb10okie, CC BY-ND 2.0