Small Saguaros Surge Skyward! Preliminary Results from the Census 

In December, Sky Island Alliance volunteers took to the trails in Saguaro National Park East District to count and measure saguaros as part of the Saguaro Census. Every ten years, Saguaro National Park inventories the population of saguaro across 45 large plots with help from the community. They look for changes in the total number of saguaro and how big the iconic cacti are at the time of measurement. 

The first results of the 2020 Saguaro Census are in. In the plots measured by Sky Island Alliance volunteers on December 7th and 10th, there are slightly fewer total saguaros this year, but the average size of young saguaros has increased. We’ll have to wait and see how all the plots measure up before we can really understand how the population of park saguaros is changing. 

The next groups of volunteers hit the trail to help with the survey on January 10th and 11th, so more results will be pouring in soon! 


The population of saguaro along the Carillo Trail in Saguaro National Park (East) has endured since its last measurement in 2010. This year, only a few saguaro had disappeared from the population and overall the saguaro are growing. Thank you to the SIA volunteer crew on December 7, 2019 for collecting these data!  Graph Courtesy of NPS


The population of saguaro near the Loma Verde Trail in Saguaro National Park (East) has lost some saguaro since its last measurement in 2016. Many of the smallest saguaro studied in 2016 have grown into larger size classes, reaching up to 3.0 meters tall this year. Thank you to the SIA volunteer crew on December 10, 2019 for collecting these data!  Graph Courtesy of NPS

Photo Gallery

Thank you Emily Burns, Christopher James, and the National Park Service for the great images
Visit the Saguaro National Park Website for more images