Ecology of Desert Systems

Ecology of Desert Systems

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Conventional wisdom considers deserts stark, harsh regions that support few living things. Most people also believe that water alone makes the desert bloom. Ecology of Desert Systems challenges these conventional views.

This volume explores a broad range of topics of interest to ecosystem, population, community, and physiological ecologists. Climate, weather patterns, geomorphology, and wind and water processes are examined as variables that affect the distribution of biota through fundamental ecosystem processes. Descriptions of morphological, behavioral, and physiological adaptations of desert biota illuminate, through the lens of patch dynamics, principles for understanding observed patterns of primary production, nutrient cycling, and the effects of consumers. Desertification, and the techniques for monitoring and quantifying it, is examined within the framework of desert ecosystem patterns and processes.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 343 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 657.71g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • English
  • 0127472614
  • 9780127472614
  • 2,170,098

Table of contents

Conceptual Framework and Paradigms.
Landforms, Geomorphology, and Vegetation.
Characterization of Desert Climates.
Wind and Water Processes.
Patch Mosaic Dynamics.
Primary Production.
Consumers, Consumption, and Secondary Production.
Decomposition and Nutrient Cycling.
Monitoring and Assessment.
Desert Ecosystems in the Future.
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Review quote

"This book is well written and would be engaging for students...a succinct and authoritative summary."
-James A. MacMahon, for ECOLOGY, April 2003

"Whitford's book delivers a large amount of information on arid regions . . . I can recommend this book to anyone interested in the ecology of arid lands."
- Stefan Porembski, for PLANT SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONS, 2004
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About Walter G. Whitford

Walter Whitford is Senior Research Ecologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He was previously professor of biology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, for nearly 30 years. He is executive editor of Journal of Arid Environments (Academic Press). He has authored or coauthored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of desert ecology.
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