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This highly readable, spectacularly illustrated compendium is an ecological journey into a wondrous land of extremes. "The California Deserts" explores the remarkable diversity of life in this harsh yet fragile quarter of the Golden State. In a rich narrative, it illuminates how that diversity, created by drought and heat, has evolved with climate change since the Ice Ages.
Along the way, we find there is much to learn from each desert species - whether it is a cactus, pupfish, tortoise, or bighorn sheep - about adaptation to a warming, arid world. The book tells of human adaptation as well, and is underscored by a deep appreciation for the intimate knowledge acquired by native people during their 12,000-year desert experience. In this sense, the book is a journey of rediscovery, as it reflects on the ways that knowledge has been reclaimed and amplified by new discoveries. The book also takes the measure of the ecological condition of these deserts today, presenting issues of conservation, management, and restoration.
With its many sidebars, photographs, and featured topics, "The California Deserts "provides a unique introduction to places of remarkable and often unexpected beauty.
Preface Acknowledgments INTRODUCTION: THE LOST BASKET REDISCOVERY Coming to Explore Coming to Conquer Coming to Understand Coming to Cherish A CONSPIRACY OF EXTREMES Geography of a Bioregion Climate Geology Soils Waters OPERATION AND ORIGINS Ecosystem Operations in the Desert Bioregion Origins of the Desert Bioregion REMARKABLE BIOTA Biological Diversity: The Richness of Species Evolving with Drought Drought-Susceptible Species Drought-Avoiding Species Drought-Tolerant Species GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS Great Basin Communities Mojave Communities Sonoran Communities FUTURE OF AN ARID BIOREGION Current Threats Ecological Remedies Weaving a New Basket References Art Credits Index
Bruce M. Pavlik, Professor of Biology at Mills College, is coauthor of Oaks of California and California's Changing Landscapes: The Diversity and Conservation of California Vegetation.
Through the eloquent and skillful interweaving of cultural, scientific, and natural history themes, Pavlik and University of California Press have set a new standard for books on the ecology of natural bioregions.--Conservation Biology "Delightful book ... The California Deserts reads like a novel, unraveling mystery after mystery of these arid lands... This is a 'must read' for any naturalist interested in California deserts, and it will likely set a new standard in what we should look for in 'field guides.'"--Qtly Review of Biology "A wonderful resource for any naturalist, educator, or person that is eager to learn more about the diversity of the unique desert ecosystems of California."--Botanical Rsrch Inst. of Txs (Jbrit) "Approachable and beautifully illustrated text that clearly lays out the complexities of the desert ecosystems of California and the problems that they face."--Ecological Restoration "What a desert book should be like, written in such fashion that even if you have no interest in deserts whatsoever, you will still enjoy reading the book. Most desert writing is turgid. This book is not."--Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar