Cibola biomes range from Chihuahuan desert to short grass prairie to sub-alpine spruce and fir. Due to the Rio Grande, there is a variety of migrating waterfowl and other birds that follow the river's flyway during the spring and fall. The sky islands region hosts more than 200 rare plant and animal species. This ecoregion hosts more bird and mammal species in the Southwest.
These lands have a rich cultural history. The forest is made up of lands first established as Forest Reserves in the 1800s. The heritage resources on the district represent nearly every prominent human evolutionary event known to anthropology. The most famous outlaw known to these lands was the Apache Kid and his supposed grave lies within the Apache Kid Wilderness.