The Sonoran Desert is one of the most wildly diverse and fascinating regions in the world. Covering southeastern California, the southern half of Arizona, most of Baja California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, this vast area is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals. Its terrain varies dramatically, from parched desert lowlands to semiarid tropical forests and frigid subalpine meadows. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert provides the most complete collection of Sonoran Desert natural history information ever compiled and is a perfect introduction to this biologically rich desert of North America.
The authors – experts in many fields – begin with a general look at the region's geology, paleoecology, climate, human ecology, and biodiversity. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert then looks in depth at hundreds of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, native fishes, and invertebrates that live in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert. Throughout, the text is supplemented with anecdotes, essays, color and black-and-white photographs, maps, diagrams, and 450 finely-rendered drawings. This comprehensive, accessible natural history is written for nonscientists and will surely become an invaluable companion for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, hikers, students, and anyone interested in the desert Southwest.
"This fine book offers one-stop shopping for authoritative answers to all your questions about a most wonderful place, the Sonoran Desert. Bees, birds, beetles, biodiversity, all right here in one place in accessible prose. Who can ask for more than that?"
– John Alcock, author of In a Desert Garden
"Definitive and delightful – a fabulous compendium of facts and experiences written by the most knowledgable scholars in the field. This encyclopedic guide will make desert rats out of those who aren't already."
– Ann H. Zwinger, author of Run, River, Run
"Once in a generation, a guide to understanding a major North American landscape comes along. This book is such a touchstone, sure to become a classic. The emphasis here is on biodiversity, mutualism, co-evolution, and, especially, ethno-relationships – the long history of connection between desert peoples and their homeland, on both sides of the border. This book gives desert dwellers everything they need to develop the crucial awareness, to say, 'This is a remarkable place, filled with astonishing creatures and processes. We must act now, with fierceness and tenderness, or it will be gone.'"
– Stephen Trimble, author of The Sagebrush Ocean
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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located 14 miles west of Tucson, is an internationally recognized leader in natural history interpretation and innovative exhibitry. This book is the result of a collaboration by staff members at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, who provided their expertise in geology, geomorphology, paleoecology, botany, ethnobotany, plant ecology, mammalogy, ornithology, herpetolgy, invertebrate zoology and ichthyology. Their work was supplemented by contributions from approximately twenty outside scholars.