A Natural History of the Mojave Desert
344 pages, 7 x 10
Color illustrations throughout
Release Date:01 Jan 2018

A Natural History of the Mojave Desert

The University of Arizona Press
The Mojave Desert has a rich natural history. Despite being sandwiched between the larger Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts, it has enough mountains, valleys, canyons, and playas for any eager explorer. Ancient and current waterways carve the bajadas and valley bottoms. This diverse topography gives rise to a multitude of habitats for plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

A Natural History of the Mojave Desert explores how a combination of complex geology, varied geography, and changing climate has given rise to intriguing flora and fauna—including almost 3,000 plant species and about 380 terrestrial vertebrate animal species. Of these, one quarter of the plants and one sixth of the animals are endemic.

The authors, who, combined, have spent more than six decades living in and observing the Mojave Desert, offer a scientifically insightful and personally observed understanding of the desert. They invite readers to understand how the Mojave Desert looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells. They prompt us to understand how humans have lived in this desert where scant vegetation and water have challenged humans, past and present.
RELATED TOPICS: Ecology, Nature
The book is beautiful and could be a coffee table volume, but do not be deceived. The photographs (in color) are striking and instructive; the line artwork and tables are crisp and clean. The writing style, though casual, is inviting. This book could serve as the basis for a specialty course for undergraduates or beginning graduate students unfamiliar with deserts. Choice

Lawrence R. Walker is a professor of plant ecology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Frederick H. Landau is a research associate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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