Vast areas of Earth's landmass exist as deserts, representing quite distinct ecosystems. Desert plants and animals have evolved specialised survival strategies to cope with the harsh environment of high temperatures and scarce water resources. The life-supporting vegetation of deserts is characterised by its unique reproductive biology, metabolism and adaptive characters. Plants like Prosopis cineraria and date palm form the basis of the rural economy in many countries, and are of great cultural importance; Jojoba and Jatropha have attracted interest as non-conventional sources of industrial oil and biodiesel.
Desert Plants includes chapters on the seed biology, reproduction, mycorrhizae, stress physiology, and metabolism of desert plants, and describes current biotechnological approaches to their cultivation. It will be useful to researchers, teachers and students in the fields of plant sciences, agriculture, and forestry, and those involved in the management and conservation of desert ecosystems.