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Deserts are extreme environments. Occupying about 20 per cent of the world's land surface, they are subject to some of the harshest conditions on the planet, being places of minimal rainfall and epic temperatures, from searing heat to intense cold. Rock, sand and gravel provide the stark physical context. Yet deserts are far from the bleak and lifeless wastelands of popular perception, being surprisingly diverse in terms of wildlife. From elephants to tiny lichens, desert flora and fauna are highly specialized, demonstrating a vast range of adaptations that are designed to cope with the demanding environment and exploit fully the ecological niches on offer.
In The Desert, James Parry explores some the world's last great desert wildernesses and reveals the fascinating range of wildlife they support. The Desert looks at various types of desert, at their different ecosystems and at the diverse features and types of wildlife that make them such exciting places to visit.
Deserts: Context and Characteristics
Map of Locations
The Middle East
The Future of Deserts and their Wildlife
James Parry has travelled in search of wildlife for over 20 years. Following university expeditions to the Mediterranean and Kenya, a career with the British Council took him even further afield, from remote parts of Ethiopia to Borneo and the Empty Quarter of Arabia. He is the author of numerous books on natural history and landscape, including Carlton's Global Safari and Wild Rainforests.