8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive, Current & Useful,
This review is from: The California Deserts: An Ecological Rediscovery (Paperback)
This is the type of book we have all been waiting for - holistic, comprehensive, current and easy to follow. It is not for those who substitute oil for knowledge riding their ATVs, but rather those who walk the land and want to get to know the desert first-hand. What are the climate, soils, hydrology, metabolism, light, perturbations and cycles that make up the Mojave & adjacent deserts within California? Find it here. Deserts are areas where evapotranspiration exceeds precipitation by a factor of 6 to 10. It's not what you get (precipitation), but what you keep (effective moisture), that counts. Moisture is a dominant factor, but so many other things control what deserts are and how we see them.
This is about seeing - what are the different types of metabolism plants and animals use to deal with extreme aridity and heat? This provides answers with easy to understand illustrations. What is desert pavement and how does it form? Find solutions and processes here. What are the ecotones (boundaries) between humid & arid ecosystems and how are they defined? This is a dynamic process book, not a "look-it-up-and-forget-it book".
When I stand on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and look eastward into the Great Basin this book gives me a sense of understanding of colors, cryptograms, herbs, shrubs & trees. Soil fungi are important nutrient cyclers in desert soils. Ride an ATV over "barren" sand and you wipe out soils and plants for many years to come. What do soil fungi look like? Find it here. Soil fungi bacteria relationships are important in all soils and especially in desert soils.
What is the role and niche of desert fish? How long have they been around (a long time). How do dunes form and what is the source of the sand that makes up dunes? How often does it snow in the desert? How do human communities affect desert ecosystems and are these activities sustainable? Human communities may flourish for a short time by spending the natural capital stored over the last 10,000 years, but they cannot be sustained.
This book comes through with colors, viewsheds, airsheds, plants, animals and outside influences. It gives you insight into fire, flood, wind, heat, cold and travel. This is a valuable addition to my desert bookshelf. I will look at all deserts (Atacama, Karakum, Antarctic, Patagonia, Sonora, Mojave, Chihuaua, Talkla Makan, as well as the Sahara in a new light.