Mt. Lemmon towers 9000 feet above sea level starting at the foot of the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. This unique eco-environment can be compared as a trip from Mexico to Canada in 25 miles with regards to vegetation distribution (Dotucson).
On the base of the mountain range, the dominant vegetation resembles that of a desert landscape, all the desert plant and wildlife co-exist among the ever creeping metropolitan city limits. Saguaro cactus abounds standing tall against the backdrop of the enormous mountain range (Azentertain, 2006). As one treks to go upward from the wide base, bushes and smaller plant varieties and grasses are observed to flourish.
This vegetation is relatively widely distributed among wind blown rock formations. Going further up to the peak of the mountain, the scenery drastically changes to become a dense forest of aspen trees, pine and fir, which cover the upper portion of the huge land mass. These forest landscapes predominantly occupy regions up to the snow covered areas during winter seasons.
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The very unique environment characteristic of Mount Lemmon may be attributed with the physical factors of the mountain. Apparently, the lush vegetation in the upper part of the mountain receives adequate amounts of rain water to support its forest. However, some related factors in the form of boulders and contour variations may have trapped the water in the upper part, making the base areas dry and scarce with water. This causes the bottom landscape to have a desert ecosystem. The Aspen fire in 2003 may be seen as a factor in changing the vegetation of the mountain. A good number of remaining trees may not be able to support the watershed in a certain time segment since many trees and animals have died of the fire. However, the burned forest materials will serve as elements to further nourish the soil. This will eventually give better vegetation conditions for other plants and animals in the future.
AZentertain. 2006. Mt. Lemmon, AZ-the long drive into another world. Retrieved May 13, 2007 from http://emol.org/tucson/mtlemmon/information.html.
Dotucson. Mt; Lemmon. Retrieved May 13, 2007 from http://www.dotucson.com/visit.asp?qry=431.
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