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Understanding Arizona's Riparian AreasRiparian areas occupy less than 2% of the arid Western United States. Their importance is disproportionate to the small area they occupy because of their multiple use applications. Riparian areas provide recreational amenities, habitat and travel corridors for wildlife, livestock grazing areas and influence water quality and quantity. In Arizona, as in many other states, there is a need to provide science-based educational publications to inform the public on riparian areas. In this publications the information will focus on: 1) the definition, importance and characterization of riparian areas 2) hydrologic, geomorphic, climatic, and biological processes in riparian areas, and 3) human alterations to riparian areas. This information is essential for land-managers and the general public to manage properly or restore healthy riparian areas.