Desert Life

Animals - Plants - People - Environment

Deserts cover more than one fifth of the Earth's land, and they are found on every continent. Deserts can be classified as "hot" or "cold". Deserts receive less than 10 inches of precipitation a year. Lack of water creates a survival problem for all desert organisms, animals, plants and people.

Desert In Bloom

  • Plants and Animals: How Are They Classified? For centuries, biological scientists have worked to classify organisms in a way that would help clarify relationships among species through time, and across different and constantly changing environments. More...
  • Desert Food Chain in Depth - A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat. Watch Video.
  • Desert Food Chain for the Younger Student
  • Need for Water in the Deserts - Learn what can happen in a desert basin where no more than a few inches of rain fall in a typical year; where dependable natural water holes and streams lie far apart; where summer daytime air temperatures can soar to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil temperatures to well over 150 degrees; and where small-leaf, spiny, low-growing and widely scattered plants offer scant shade or comfort. More...

  • Desert People & Cultures - For many centuries the desert has been home to human life, from ancient hunters and farmers, to the native cultures Euro-American explorers first recorded, to settlers and modern inhabitants who enjoy its warm, dry climate and stunning vistas. Throughout the desert regions, monuments and parks have been established to preserve the record of these ancient and historic peoples, including cliff dwellings, rock art, ghost towns and historic sites commemorating all manner of human endeavors, adventures and travails. More...
  • Desert Survival for People - Learning to be part of the desert's ecosystem is the first step of desert survival. Our philosophy is not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem. Being prepared is an obvious benefit. More...
  • Desert Environment & Geology - Learn about the rocks, minerals and gemstones that form our North American deserts. More...
  • Water Resources in the Southwest
  • Dwindling Southwest Water Resources - Part I
  • Wildfires - In some instances in the chaparral shrublands of coastal California, wildfires trigger germination of various plant seeds.
  • Maps One of the most useful features on DesertUSA are its maps. DesertUSA contains a number of different types of desert maps, including those reproduced from original U.S. Government publications, such as park brochures and circulars, which are public domain. Some of these maps are enhanced with icons, colors, and other graphics to increase readability. Digital West Media, Inc. d.b.a. DesertUSA cannot be responsible for any inaccuracies or errors in the maps contained on this web site or in any other version distributed by DesertUSA. It is up to you to verify that the information contained on the maps is correct and accurate. More...
  • Seasonal Migrations - Seasonal migration is one of the most fascinating feats of the animal world. Although birds are often the most evident of the migrants, animals as small as pinhead-sized spiders and as large as blue whales migrate by land, air or water. Movements can range in length from less than a mile, for Eurasian milkweed bugs, for example, to the incredible 25,000 miles per year of the arctic tern. Migrations may only be seasonal or may take a lifetime to complete. More...


Video available on this subject.Desert Food Chain VideoVideo available on this subject.Videos of Desert Animals Video available on this subject.



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